Turkey’s Halil Mutlu was the defending champion and had won the flyweight gold medal at the 1996 Olympics. He won the 2001 World Championship, but was then out for a year with a torn biceps tendon and a rotator cuff tear. In 2003 he won the World title again, but as a featherweight. While he was out of this class in 2002-03, China’s Wu Meijin won both World Championships. These two were expected to battle for gold in Athinai, but Mutlu put the title away early, lifting 135.0 kg in the snatch and 160.0 kg in the clean & jerk, leading both lifts, as Wu won the silver medal. Mutlu became only the fourth weightlifter to win three consecutive Olympic medals, after his countryman, Naim Suleymanoğlu, and Greeks Pyrros Dimas and Akakios Kakiasvili.