A test to see who is the strongest, Weightlifting has been practiced since ancient times in countries such as Greece and Egypt. However, its development as a sport only took place at the end of the 19th Century, especially in Europe.
The first international federation for the sport was established in Austria, in 1890. Six years later, Weightlifting was present in the first edition of the Olympic Games of the Modern Era, in Athens, Greece, as part of the Gymnastics programme.
The sport was removed from the Olympic programme at the Paris 1900 Games, but it returned to the St. Louis 1904 Games as part of the Athletics competitions. It was excluded from the 1908 (London) and 1912 (Stockholm) editions, but it returned definitively to the Antwerp 1920 Games, in Belgium, though only for men.
Women’s events joined the Olympic Games in 2000, in Sydney, Australia. There are 15 categories, eight for men and seven for women, broken down by each participant’s weight.
Competition take place on a platform measuring 4 x 4 metres in diameter and a maximum of 15 centimetres in height. The discs are secured to the bar with two steel collars, weighing 2.5 kg each.
Weightlifting consists of two events: the snatch, and the clean and jerk. In the first, competitors need to lift the bar in one single movement from the platform to the full extent of both arms above the head, while either splitting or bending the legs. After that, they need to keep their balance and the bar up for up to two seconds, when the judges give the signal to drop it.
The clean and jerk is a composite of two movements. In the clean movement the athlete lifts the barbell from the floor to the shoulders. The jerk sees the lifter raise the bar above their head, keeping the arms and legs outstretched. After three attempts at each lift, the heaviest weights lifted by the athlete in each section are added together to determine the overall results.
Participants have three attempts in each event to lift as much weight as possible. Having successfully lifted a weight on the bar, the minimum increase must be 2 kilos between the first and second attempts, and at least 1 kg between the second and third.
The winner is the person who lifts the biggest total, the sum of the best attempts in the snatch and clean and jerk. If there is a tie, the athlete who weighs the least wins. If this is not sufficient to select a winner, the winner is the person who attained the best score first.