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Olympic weightlifting was first contested at the games in 1896, and since then has been a staple since 1920, and this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games is no exception. These days, there are 14 weight classes, seven for each gender, and athletes must complete two lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk. A competitor gets three chances on each lift and their most successful attempts are recorded and combined. The lifter with the highest total will be awarded gold, with second and third place receiving silver and bronze.
In Olympic weightlifting competitions, held between July 24 and Aug. 4, 2021, China dominated the scene with seven gold medals, amassing new records in both the male and female divisions. But other records and highlights came in from all over the world.
Who won what?
Lu Xiaojun earned legendary status in the 81-kiogram category, by becoming the oldest Olympic weightlifter ever to earn a gold medal at 37. That makes a total of 3 golds for Xiaojun, having previously won in both London and Rio.
China’s Shi Zhiyong smashed his own world record in the men’s 73-kilogram event to claim his second consecutive gold medal. He lifted a combined total of 364 kilograms to one-up the 363 that he earned in the 2019 world championships.
Li Wenwen, who is just 21 years of age, broke three Olympic records in the women’s +87-kilogram category on the road gold, representing China. Her records were made in the clean and jerk, where she lifted 140 kilograms very comfortably, and in the snatch, where she raised 180 kilograms. This total score of 320 secured her third Olympic record.
Team GB’s Emily Campbell picked up silver in the same category, making her the first British athlete ever to win a medal in women’s Olympic weightlifting. Team USA’s Sarah Robles was only one point behind her, taking bronze.
Katherine Nye brought a silver medal back home to the USA from the 76-kilogram group. The inspirational bipolar disorder sufferer is eager to spread the message that people should feel comfortable about discussing mental health issues, and has given her country a boost in the process.
While Wes Kitts, 31, finished with position 8 in the 109-kilogram grouping for Team USA, he set a new U.S. record of 390 kilograms in this, his Olympic debut. Kitts also became the first US lifter to compete in the Olympic men’s heavyweight category for 25 years.
Georgian lifter, Lasha Talakhadze set a new world record by snatching 223 kilograms on the way to his second gold medal in the +109-kilogram category.
The competition also saw Laurel Hubbard, a transgender athlete from New Zealand make history. The 43-year-old became the first transgender athlete ever to compete at the Olympic Games, but failed to make a mark on the +87-kilogram category when she failed to successfully complete a single lift in the final.
See all of the official results of the Tokyo Olympic Games at Olympics.com.