This was a new event on the Olympic Program, having been added internationally at the 1951 World Championships, when it was won by American Norb Schemansky. Schemansky had won a silver medal at the 1948 Olympics as a heavyweight, held this world record in this class, and came to Helsinki as the favorite. He would not disappoint. The lead in the press was taken by Soviet lifter Grigory Novak, who with 140.0 kg had a big lead on Schemansky, who pressed 127.5 kg, but that was as good as Novak would get. Schemansky lifted 140.0 kg in the snatch to Novak’s 125.0 kg, and when Schemansky cleaned & jerked 177.5 kg for a world record, that shattered his world record total with 445.0 kg, which led Novak by 35 kg. The bronze medal went to Trinidadian Lennox Kilgour, who followed his countryman, Rodney Wilkes, as an Olympic weightlifting medalist. Schemansky would move back to the heavyweight division and win Olympic bronze medals in both 1960 and 1964, making him the first Olympic weightlifter to win four medals.