London 2012: Weightlifting
Tell me about weightlifting:
The rules of weightlifting at the Olympics are very simple. The goal of the athlete is to lift more weight than his/her opponent, and if successfully done, he or she wins. Weightlifting made its Olympic debut in Athens in 1896 and has appeared in all Olympic games since then except for in 1900, 1908, and 1912. There are two different lifts that the athletes must complete: the snatch and clean and jerk. At it’s beginning, men’s Olympic weightlifting had all its contenders lifting together despite their own body weight. Now, Olympic weightlifting is divided into events based on the athlete’s body weight. The men’s Olympic weightlifting competition has eight weight classes and women’s Olympic weightlifting has seven weight classes.
Women’s Olympic Weightlifting made its Olympic debut much later than the men, as it became a medal event in the Sydney 2000 Olympic games.
What’s up with scoring?
The weightlifting competitions are scored by three referees that sit at a table and watch for the lifter to complete their lift in the correct form. If the lift satisfies the referee they will switch on a white light. If the lift is not made by the lifter or done in an incorrect way then the lifter receives a red light. Each lifter gets a total of three tries during their event. Whoever can lift the most weight cleaning and jerking or snatching in the correct form is the winner for that weight class.
International athletes to watch:
China has been a weightlifting powerhouse at the Olympics. In the history of the Olympics, China has won a total of 43 medals, 24 of which are gold. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China proudly represented the host country taking home eight golds and one silver. Lu Yong won gold in 2008 in the men’s 85 kilogram weight class and will be looking to reclaim gold this year in London.
American athletes to watch:
Team USA will be sending three athletes to compete for gold in the weightlifting competitions. Only one male will be representing the U.S., 26-year-old Kendrick Farris. Farris will be competing in the men’s 85 kilogram weight class. He made an appearance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and finished eighth overall in his weight class. Two women, Holley Mangold and Sarah Robles, will represent the U.S. in weightlifting this summer. Mangold will be participating in the women’s plus-75 kilogram weight class. Mangold is the sister of New York Jets lineman Nick Mangold. Robles was ranked first at the end of the Olympic trials and will be competing in the women’s plus-75 kilogram weight class as well.
Talk like an Olympian – terms to know:
Barbell – the bar that the weights are put on and the lifter picks up
Disc -the weighted plates that are added to the barbell to increase the weight being lifted
Snatch -when the lifter brings the barbell overhead in one fluid motion
Clean and Jerk – when the lifter brings the barbell overhead in two motions, the first is to the chest and then lifted above the head