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London Olympics Information » About the Olympics » Olympics 2012 Sports and Disciplines » Weightlifting


Weightlifting was practised in all the ancient civilisations around the world as a show of stamina and strength. There are mentions of amazing weightlifting feats during the Egyptian, Roman and Greek civilisations. Ancient Chinese hieroglyphics describe aspirant soldiers lifting heavy objects to gain entry into the military. Frescos which cover the walls of tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs depict athletes lifting bags of sand.

With a view to making the sport more popular and competitive, a Harvard-trained visionary named George Barker Windship conceptualised the Strongman contests, and the first of its kind was held in February, 1861, in Chicago. Bodybuilders such as Eugen Sandow and George Hackenschmidt became household names. They also contributed towards the development of weightlifting.

In 1891, London hosted the first international competitions. Soon after, weightlifting events were introduced to the 1896 Olympic Games, albeit for a brief period - 1896 to 1904. In 1920 The International Weightlifting Federation (Fédération Haltérophile Internationale) in Paris was formed to regularise events and supervise international competition, and the events were reinstated in the Antwerp Games.

Soviet Union was a dominant force in the pre-1991 era. China is fast emerging as the next authoritative player in the Olympic weightlifting arena.

The snatch and the clean and jerk are the two types of lifts that the lifters perform. Contestants are permitted to make three lifts, and the aggregate of the three attempts is combined for the final result.

Snatch The lifter lifts the barbell from the ground to arm's length above his head in a single movement.

Clean and jerk The competitor lifts the bar to the shoulders in one movement, and then jerks to arm's length above the his head in another.

List of events
+ 105kg Men94kg Men
105kg Men+ 75kg Women
56kg Men48kg Women
62kg Men53kg Women
69kg Men58kg Women
77kg Men63kg Women
85kg Men69kg Women
75kg Women


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