| Event type

Heavyweight (≤75 kilograms), Women

Date15 August 2008 — 15:30
LocationBeijing Hangkong Hangtian Daxue Tiyuguan, Beijing
Participants12 from 11 countries
FormatTotal of best lifts in snatch and clean & jerk determined placement. Ties broken by lightest bodyweight.

Cao Lei, like most Chinese lifters entered, was the favorite, as she had won the 2006-07 World Championships. Cao won the gold medal comfortably, posting the best snatch and clean & jerk, and her total of 282.0 kg gave her a victory margin of 16 kg over Kazakh Alla Vazhenina. Cao’s mother had died shortly before the Beijing Olympics, but she was not told of this during training by her coaches, so as not to distract her.

Chile’s Elizabeth Poblete finished 12th and last, 85 kg behind Cao. In 2009 she was training and strained to complete a lift, only to suddenly deliver a baby boy. She had not been feeling well, but was not aware she was pregnant at the time. Unfortunately, the baby lived only a few days.

That was how the event and the results seemed to have ended. In 2015, however, the IOC began re-testing samples from the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics, using newer, more advanced testing techniques, in an effort to find those who had used performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), but in whom it could not be detected at the time of those Olympics. This was one of the many events affected. Of note, every women’s weightlifting event from the 2008 Beijing Olympics was affected by positive re-tests for PEDs.

This event’s results were ravaged with 4 of 12 competitors affected. Testing positive were the gold medalist, Cao Lei of China; the bronze medalist Nadezhda Yevstyukhina of Russia; the original fourth-place finisher, Irina Kulesha of Belarus; and also the 11th-place finisher, Hripsime Khurshudyan of Armenia.

Yevstyukhina and Kulesha tested positive for turinabol (dehydrochloromethyltestosterone), with Yevstyukhina also having supplemental erythropoietin (EPO) found. Khurshudyan tested positive for another anabolic steroid, stanozolol, while Cao tested positive for GHRP-2, a form of growth hormone releasing peptide. In early 2019 it was announced that the original silver medalist Alla Vazhenina was moved up to the gold medal, with Spain’s Lidia Valentin receiving a silver medal, and Mexico’s Damaris Gabriela Aguirre a bronze medal. Valentin also moved up to a gold medal in this event at the 2012 Olympics, after further drug re-test disqualifications, and then won a gold medal outright in the event in 2016.

1Alla VazheninaKAZ266.0119.0147.0Gold
2Lydia ValentínESP250.0115.0135.0Silver
3Damaris Gabriela AguirreMEX245.0109.0136.0Bronze
4Ubaldina ValoyesCOL244.0110.0134.0
5Jeane LassenCAN240.0105.0135.0
6Nadiya MyroniukUKR237.0105.0132.0
7Yuliya NavakovichBLR237.0110.0127.0
8Elizabeth PobleteCHI197.091.0106.0
DQCao LeiCHN[282.0][128.0][154.0]1
DQNadezhda YevstyukhinaRUS[264.0][117.0][147.0]2
DQIryna KuleshaBLR[255.0][118.0][137.0]3
DQHripsime KhurshudyanARM[235.0][105.0][130.0]4