2016 Olympics Weightlifting Event Guide - History, Facts & Trivia

Event first started in 1896 for men held in Athens, Greece with only Greece, England and Denmark competing.


• Weightlifting was not held as an event in the 1900,1908 and 1912 Olympic games.


• Weight classes were first properly setup in 1920 and have evolved over time. Previously lifters of all weights competed together. 


• The 1920 games in Antwerp, Belgium represent the start of modern Olympic weightlifting with 14 nations competing and 53 lifters. 

• Women’s Olympic weightlifting debuted in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

• Presently, 15 sets of Gold, Silver & Bronze medals are awarded, 8 for men and 7 for women.

• Some competitors in the men's lowest weight class(56kg) can sometimes lift over 3 times their body weight!

• There used to be 3 events but the 'Clean and Press' was discontinued in 1972 due to competitors using their legs too much instead of pressing the weight over their head.

Ibragim Samadov, who represented the Unified Team at the 1992 Olympics weightlifting, finished in equal first in the 82.5 kg division, but was relegated to 3rd on a countback due to him being 0.05 kg heavier. In protest, he refused to lean forward to accept his medal, instead took it in his hand then dropped it. The IOC subsequently disqualified him.

• Powerlifting (squat, bench & deadlift) and Olympic weightlifting (snatch & clean and jerk are different disciplines altogether!!!

• As of 2011 athletes may wear a one piece 'unitard' instead of a 'singlet'.



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