Great Olympians

Biographies - SUl

Naim Suleymanoglu

B. 1967-01-23, Ptichar, Bulgaria, went to Turkey in 1986
Weight-Lifting (3 gold)
1988 1992 1996 2000 HP
-60 kg gold gold 57601.92
-64 kg gold
-62 kg dnf

He was born Naim Suleimanov in Bulgaria, one of the two-million strong Turkish minority within Bulgarian borders. A Bulgarian policy of the 1980's tried to assimilate these Turks, even changing their names. Thus Naim became Naum Shalamanov. This was the last straw, he said. 'To take away your name is to take away your character'. As Shalamanov, he became world record holder, and at the 1986 World Championships in Melbourne, during the closing dinner, he left the table and never came back. He flew to Ankara in the prime minister's private jet and was given Turkish citizenship immediately, and another new name, Suleymanoglu. Turkey paid Bulgaria more than $1 million in order for them to waive the Olympic rule barring competitors for three years after changing nationality.
He would have been a favourite at Los Angeles, but for the Bulgarian boycott of the Los Angeles Games.
As Suleimanov, he won the "World Cup" three times (1984,'85,'86).
Also known as the 'Pocket Hercules', he is barely 1.52 m high.
His second and third gold medal can no more enhance his standing in Turkey than his first gold already did.
He failed in his attempt to win a fourth gold in Sydney.

Daniel Sullivan

Olympic Competitor nr 2978

Jack Sullivan

Olympic Competitor nr 1820

James Sullivan

Olympic Competitor nr 2913

Willy Sulzbacher

Olympic Competitor nr 566

Written 2002-10-29 - last modified 2011-08-14

This page is part of the site "Full Olympians" by Herman De Wael. See here for a full Introduction.