Four-times The World Games Champion Larysa Soloviova’s sports career began at the age of six, and in all ten school years she was active in gymnastics, where she reached the level of Master of Sports in the Ukraine. However in 1995 the gymnastics club in her town was closed. “I had to think seriously about what to do next. And I had good luck: next to the gymnastics club there was a gym. I began to visit it to keep fit,” Soloviova says.

“After a few training sessions, a Powerlifting coach approached me. He was closely watching my training and suggested that I try my hand at Powerlifting. I thought “why not”, and only two months later, performing at the Ukrainian Nationals I reached the level of Master of Sports in Ukraine, with a bronze medal in overall competitions! I realised that this was exactly the thing I wanted to do in my life,” Soloviova says.

In 2005 Larysa Soloviova took part in The World Games for the first time in Duisburg, Germany, and directly won her class. Then she took a gold medal in the 2009, 2013 and 2017 editions of the Games. Besides that, she is a nine-times world champion (IPF), three-times European champion (EPF) and twelve-times champion of Ukraine. She holds world records in all three Powerlifting disciplines and in the total, in the weight category up to 63 kg.

Secretary General of the Ukrainian Powerlifting Federation Tetiana Melnyk says: “Larysa Soloviova is a very special athlete. She won The World Games 4 times! No other Powerlifting athlete in the world has achieved such an accomplishment so far. She is the strongest woman in the world. Her records are invincible. Moreover, she is a symbol of world Powerlifting, demonstrating hard work and fair play in gaining the highest results.”

The World Games are the most important competition for Powerlifters in the world at large and in Ukraine in particular. Every athlete starting training dreams about The World Games platform. This is the key event in which only the strongest athletes can be selected, and medals from The World Games are ‘the top of the tree’ for our Federation.”

Larysa Soloviova set her first world record back in 2001, and at the 2019 World Championships she updated three records at once (squats, bench press and total). It is likely that she will qualify for The World Games 2022 – that is 21 years since her first world record! “We can never be sure, but I hope that all will be well and Larysa will participate in The World Games for the fifth time, and again show the world her top level of performance,” Melnyk says.

“For the moment, she is recovering from Covid-19 and we all wish her good health and the quickest possible recovery.”

More than 80,000 votes

In The World Games Greatest Athlete of All Time, Larysa Soloviova achieved 3rd place amongst 24 candidates. She received more than 80,000 votes.

Larysa really deserves to be on the podium as she is a really outstanding woman in our sport,” President of the International Powerlifting Federation Gaston Parage says. “She is the only powerlifter who could win a gold medal in 4 editions of The World Games. And she did it in 4 editions in a row, which makes this achievement even more glorious, and is a proof of her consistency over many years. Larysa is a real champion and a great ambassador for our beloved sport. With this prestigious result, third place in the IWGA Voting, she represents the sport of Powerlifting in the most positive way.”

Secretary General Melnyk continues: “Every day we saw how people voted for Larysa. But it was not only voting for her. It was voting for Powerlifting in general, for the sport, which deserves to be among leading sports as it unites thousands of people around the world.”

“The Ukrainian Powerlifting Federation, together with the Ministry of Sport of Ukraine and the Sports Committee of Ukraine, did a huge promotion to encourage Ukrainian people to vote for Larysa. Many representatives of different sports Federations gave their votes to her, because she is our best athlete. Even people who are not in sport were voting for her, because her accomplishments are obvious and all the people in Ukraine admire her.”

“The Ukrainian Powerlifting Federation would like to thank all the people around the world who every day during this contest were voting for Larysa. You are all winners!”

When the race was over, Larysa Soloviova thanked everyone who voted for her: “During these weeks, we enjoyed a great challenge. People all over the world had to choose between many GREAT sportspeople. Each of these athletes deserves to be written down in the history of The World Games.”

“I want to express my gratitude to all the powerlifters and friends of our sport from all parts of the world for their dedication and support! Thank you for constantly every day voting for me and for Powerlifting in general.”

My friends, you have proved to the world that Powerlifting is a big and strong sporting family, which unites many thousands of faithful hearts beating in one rhythm – the rhythm of sport. I strongly believe that our achievement will create a huge push forward in the promotion of Powerlifting.”

Larysa Soloviova will receive a diploma, a trophy and a branded gift from the official sponsor, Protective Life. Furthermore, as with every candidate in the race, she will receive more promotion throughout the year.

The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 7-17 July 2022. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in The World Games.