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History of Latvian Bodybuilding


The first documentary mentions of power athletics in Latvia are dated 1890 (no earlier mention could be found). This year in Latvia, is already running and holds its championships (competitions) Athletic Society RIGAER. At this time in our Country, begins the rapid development of all athletic areas that reach their peak of popularity by the beginning of the First World War.

During this period, Latvian athletes are one of the strongest athletes in the world. The names of Buhl, Krause, Freiberg, Zedat, Spul are thundering around the Planet. At home they are national triumphants. Their performances received full attendance. In addition to outstanding musculature, our athletes demonstrate incredible strength, repeatedly increasing world records and pin down the most famous fighters of the World.

Alas, the cataclysms of the first half of the 19th century destroyed the triumphal procession of our athletics. Moving, by inertia, some time, bodybuilding in Latvia, soon, almost ceased to exist.

Revival happened only in 1981: the first (revived) championship of Latvia on athleticism was held in Daugavpils. Absolute Champions were: strength – Sergey Ignatiev from Daugavpils (classic bench press – 175 kg), appearance (bodybuilding) – Stanislav Polyakov from Riga.

Since then, the athletic championships and cups of Latvia (bodybuilding and the classic bench press) continue to be held regularly in our country.


By 1976, when the first Latvian bodybuilders began to take part in international competitions in Klaipeda, there were two bodybuilding centers in Latvia: the club “Impulse” in Riga (coach – Felix Saikovsky) and the club “Kimikis” in Daugavpils (coach – Grigory Kutsin).

The first bodybuilding competitions (formerly athleticism) in our country were held in 1980, in the Daugavpils city. In the club “Stroytel” (now – “Lidadis”) three athletes: GRIGORY KUTSIN, OLEG BURINSKY and ANDREY KALNNYSH competed in statistical poses (back then we did not have the concept of posing to music). The show was a great success – the hall was delighted. Encouraged by the success, in 1981 the unofficial current Latvian WFF (and it could not have been official in the USSR) announced the FIRST LATVIAN CHAMPIONSHIP in the territory of our Country.
The informal leader of the bodybuilding of Latvia, was at that time the Minister of Finance of the Latvian SSR V.SADAUSKAS.

The organizers of the FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP of LATVIA became GRIGORY KUZIN and OLEG BURINSKIY. The championship was held in two stages. The first day-double-event (classic bench press and squats), and the second day – posing.

The first Latvian champion in the double-event was SERGEY IGNATYEV (Daugavpils) with a score of 430 kg.


1981 Daugavpils. House of Culture: Riga team at the poster of the first Latvian championship:

Первый чемпионат Латвии по культуризму

The first Latvian bodybuilding champions are:
– ANATOLY POPOV (Riga) – then, Anatoly continued to perform in the WFF until 2004 inclusive.
– STANISLAV POLYAKOV (Riga) – competed at the championships of Latvia and the Amber Prize of the WFF, up to the XVI – LATVIA CHAMPIONSHIP – 1996.
– VASILY BESPALENKO (Lvov, Ukraine) – still performs in the WFF.

Первый чемпионат Латвии по культуризму. Фото Олега Буринского

The first championship of Latvia was held in full house. Daugavpils for many years took the monopoly of the Latvian championships. Traditionally, it was held a week before the main competitions of all bodybuilders of the USSR of those years – the legendary WFF tournament AMBER PRIZE (held since 1968). Only in 1984 and 1989 the Latvian championship was held in other cities – Riga and Rezekne.

In 1982, a new bodybuilding center appeared in Latvia – the club “Lačplēsis”, which was created by MARIS SHVEYDUKS. In the same year, Maris begins to actively cooperate with the WFF.

Since 1987, B. RIMSHA has become the informal leader of bodybuilding in Latvia.

In 1995, the coach of the club “Impulse” Felix Saykovsky registers the organization – “Athletic Association”, and in 1997 begins work with a completely new structure for Latvia – IFBB. In the same 1997, for the first time Saykovsky holds separately from the main national championship – the alternative championship of Latvia IFBB.

September 23, 1997, after 16 years of work, officially registered Latvia WFF Federation, which continues to hold since 1981, the main Championships of Latvia.

In 1997 – 1998, under the flag of the WFF / NABBA Latvian championships in Riga are held by ANATOLIY KAZUS.

Since 1999, the WFF has started holding official country championships, already as a public sports federation.


Since 2002, a couple of years, alternative championships in Latvia, has been held by Valentin Botashov, under the flag of WABBA. But after a couple of years, his organization closes.

In early 2000, the IFBB Latvia ceased its work, and only reminded of itself in 2007 with a new alternative championship. By this moment, VLADIMIR ZOTOV has become the President of IFBB Latvia. By the way, being an athlete (very good), Zotov never participated in any of the IFBB competitions, preferring to compete only in the WFF-NABBA championships (who at that time worked closely and held joint competitions).


In 2009, two alternative championships of Latvia from two different IFBBs are already being held in Latvia. One organization is headed by Dmitry Mikhailov (Vladimir Zotov, at this time, has already been “thrown off”) and Christina Vedernikova, who furiously argue among themselves, who among them is the “real” IFBB.


Well, the Latvian WFF has never thrashed from side to side and OLEG BURINSKY and GRIGORY KUTSIN (already reversed), continue their work in 1981 – holds an annual major CHAMPIONSHIP of LATVIA on fitness and bodybuilding, with the support of long-standing and like-minded people MARIS SHVEYDUKS (Liepāja), ANATOLY KAZUS (Riga) and our other like-minded people.


2008. The organizers of the championships of Latvia (since 1981) on bodybuilding and the classic bench press – Oleg Burinsky and Grigory Kutsyn:

Олег Буринский - культуризм Латвии


2010. Champion of the first Latvian championship in 1981, Sergey Ignatiev, awards the champion of the 30th, anniversary Latvian Cup in the classical bench press, Oleg Kochmaryov:

Жим штанги лёжа - история спорта

Detailed chronology of bodybuilding and strengths athletics in Latvia (since 1981), see here.