The two-time defending champion was Iran’s Hossein Reza Zadeh, who remained the world record holder and had won the 2005-06 World Championships. However, Reza Zadeh abruptly retired only two months before the Beijing Olympics, leaving the class wide open, although Latvian Viktors Ščerbatihs, the 2007 World Champion and 2004 Olympic silver medalist, became the favorite by default. Ščerbatihs had since become a member of the Latvian Parliament, and had to take time off from that to train for the Olympics. He would win the bronze medal, never really challenging for gold, and commented that trying to both lift internationally was incompatible with serving in Parliament. The gold medal went to Austrian-born German Matthias Steiner who had recently won the silver medal at the 2008 Europeans. Steiner was only in fourth after the snatch, trailing Russian Yevgeny Chigishev, who lifted 210.0 kg to lead, Ščerbatihs, and Ukrainian Artem Udachyn. Steiner then lifted 258.0 kg in the clean & jerk to win the gold, well ahead of Chigishev, who won silver, with Ščerbatihs placing third. Steiner attempted to defend his gold medal at London in 2012, but missed all three of his clean & jerk attempts.