There were only six entrants with Austrian Hans Haas an overwhelming favorite. He was the defending gold medalist from Amsterdam, where he had shared the title with Kurt Helbig, and was European Champion in 1930-31. Helbig was the world record holder and had been runner-up to Haas at the 1931 Europeans but he did not compete in Los Angeles. The lightweight was the first competition of the Los Angeles Games. The early lead was taken by Frenchman René Duverger, runner-up to Haas at the 1930 European Championship. In the snatch Duverger extended his lead, and he won the gold medal quite easily, in a major upset. Haas hung on for the silver while the bronze medal was fought out between the two Italians, Gastone Pierini and Pierino Gabetti, with Pierini making the podium.