The apparent simplicity of lifting the barbell from the ground and over the head in one or two movements is deceptive. Weightlifting is a highly technical sport that demands speed and mobility as well as raw strength.
Super-heavyweight lifters normally claim the title of World’s Strongest Man or Woman. However, kilo for kilo, the lightest weightlifter is often the strongest.
Competitions are divided into bodyweight categories. Each category is an event and all competitions are finals. At the Olympic Games men compete in eight events from under 56kg to the super-heavyweights at over 105kg. Women compete for seven gold medals, from under 48kg to over 75kg. They have participated since the 2000 Sydney Games.
Athletes perform two types of lifts – the snatch and the clean and jerk. In the snatch, they lift the bar to arm’s length above their head in one movement. In the clean and jerk, they lift the bar to their shoulders, stand up straight and then jerk the bar to arm’s length above their head.