Galabin Boevski was too small and not well enough connected for acceptance on the football team at Plaven’s sport school so he opted to try weightlifting. It was a propitious decision. He proceeded to set records, earn prizes, wealth and win medals—including Olympic Gold. Officials both rightly and wrongly accused him of doping, coaches and authorities stabbed him in the back, and when he made the foolish mistake of buying new luggage in São Paulo, he was busted with nine kilos of coke surreptitiously sewn into the lining of the suitcase. Hefting the bulk of a weightlifter then kept him alive for two years in a Brazilian prison.
The world of Bulgarian weightlifting is certainly an esoteric topic and not one I had given much thought, but sports writer, Ognian Georgiev’s journalistic style lends this story—which is based on fact—a kind of urgency that keeps the pages turning. Boevski’s rise from obscurity, his financial and professional insecurity; physical setbacks, and ultimately, legal struggles, present a compelling story that could unfold anywhere in any sport. This book has the earmarks of the Louis Zamperini story, Unbroken. Whether you are a sports enthusiast or not, this is a great read.
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