Lifting in the heavyweight class, Leonid Taranenko was dominant in that category from 1980 until 1985. In 1980 he won the World, European and Olympic titles. He would almost certainly have defended the Olympic title in 1984 had the Soviets not boycotted the Olympics. In 1984 Taranenko won the Friendship Games in Varna, Bulgaria with lifts that would have won the Olympic gold medal by 52.5 kg, breaking the world record. In 1985 Taranenko moved up to the super-heavyweight class and became the main favorite for the 1988 Olympic gold in that category, but he was injured and did not compete at Seoul, although he won the European title before the Olympics. In 1990 Taranenko won the super-heavyweight World Championship and was European Champion in 1991 and 1996. He also won the Olympic super-heavyweight silver in 1992, the World Championships heavyweight bronze in 1979, super-heavyweight silver in 1987, European Championships super-heavyweight silvers in 1985 and 1986, and bronze in 1990. Domestically, Taranenko won the Soviet heavyweight titles in 1979 and 1983 and the super-heavyweight title in 1987, while taking heavyweight bronze in 1977 and super-heavyweight bronze in 1989. He also won the Soviet heavyweight Cups in 1981 and 1982 and super-heavyweight cup in 1986. During his career Taranenko set 21 heavyweight world records (10 in snatch, three in clean & jerk and eight in total) and five super-heavyweight world records (two in clean & jerk and three in total). His last world records, set in November 1988 in Canberra, Australia, 266.0 kg in clean & jerk and 475.0 kg in total, are still the most weight a man has ever lifted (as of 2012), although they are no longer world records as the IWF changed the weight classes in 1992, thus erasing all previous world records. Taranenko retired from weightlifting after he failed to qualify for the 1996 Olympics and began working as a weightlifting coach, serving as head coach of the Indian national weightlifting team.