About Us

Figure 1 Ivan with the Coaches of Kazakhstan, who, after winning 4 Gold medals at the 2012 Olympics, attended Risto Sports' conference on Olympic Weightlifting

Risto Sports was founded by Coach Ivan Rojas and Gwendolyn Sisto, an MIT rocket scientist who has competed numerous times for Team USA. Ivan, through Olympic solidarity, trained and studied weightlifting around the world. This included training behind the iron curtain in former Eastern Block countries such as the USSR, East Germany, Cuba, and Bulgaria. Since then, Gwen and Ivan have worked with some of the best coaches in the world, including the coaches of Kazakhstan, to bring you the absolute best weightlifting products – that means training programs, shoes, wrist wraps, knee wraps, books, singlets, compression pants and DVD's – to you.

On top of this, Risto Sports believes that – Yes, you can have high performance products that are: affordable, high performance, fair trade made, made of quality materials such as leather, that look good, use many locally sourced materials, and are Made in the USA or the Americas.

Figure 2 Gwen Sisto, celebrating after lifting one of the heaviest snatches in the USA at 63kg body weight


Why we care about bringing you the best products and services:

Figure 3 Ivan Coaching CrossFit Games Champion Annie Thorisdottir at Risto Sports

Risto Sports was started by a dream. When Ivan was a lifter, he dreamt that he was in the office of the Bulgaria weightlifting federation, and that he was surrounded by weightlifting shoes on display. Years later, when training for the 2008 Olympic Trials, Ivan and Gwen went to Bulgaria and were invited to the office of the Bulgarian Federation General Secretary. Like Ivan's dream, he was surrounded by displays; though, instead of shoes, they were covered in trophies from world cups and championships that the Bulgarian national Team had won. Shortly after, Ivan and Gwen had met Stefan Botev who sold them the first shipment of leather weightlifting shoes that Gwen and Ivan would bring to the USA for the benefit all strength athletes. Whereas, at the time, there was only one brand of weightlifting shoes even available in the USA, which were of declining design and quality.

Since then, Ivan and Gwen created Risto Sports for the purpose of supporting and promoting Olympic weightlifting and related strength sports. Risto Sports, particularly, serves the underserved strength sport market including: weightlifting, CrossFit, bodybuilding, powerlifting, and strongman.

What makes Risto Sports unique from other brands is that all of Risto Sports products are actually designed by weightlifting experts. In effect, our customers will get the most out of their lifting experience by using our products.

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