Weightlifting

Facts

Discipline of Weightlifting
Participants 3004
NOCs 155
Competitions held 214 (Venues)
Distinct events 33
IF International Weightlifting Federation, Amateur-Athleten-Weltunion, Internationaler Kraftsportverband

Description

Weightlifting in various forms has been popular for centuries. Strongmen of all types often performed at various fairs in the Middle Ages. In the 19th century, professional strongmen often toured with carnivals or vaudeville shows. However, weightlifting as a sport became organized only in the late 19th century.

The governing body is the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), which had 192 member nations in 2020. The first governing body was founded on 10 June 1905 in Duisburg as the Amateur Athleten Weltunion, with four founding members: Denmark, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, but this organization did not last long. Meetings during the 1912 Olympics ended in a congress held on 9 June 1913 in Berlin, where the Internationaler Weltverband für Schwerathletik was founded with nine members: Austria, Bohemia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Russia, and Sweden.

This organization was renamed to Internationaler Kraftsportverband in 1920, but disappeared in 1923. All these organizations did not only govern weightlifting, but also boxing, tug-of-war, weight throwing, and wrestling. The current federation was founded in 23 August 1920 during the Antwerpen Olympics as the Fédération internationale haltérophile (FIH) and was the first only responsible for wightlifting. It was renamed to Fédération internationale haltérophile et culturiste (FIHC) in 1950, when bodybuilding was added, but this was again deleted in 1968 and the name became Fédération Haltérophile Internationale (FHI). The current name was adopted in 1972.

Weightlifting has been on the program of the Olympic Games except in the years of 1900, 1908, and 1912. Originally there were no weight classes, only an open competition, and in 1920 and 1924 there were also one-handed lifts. The program has varied little except for the addition of more and more weight classes, until recent years when the number of classes for men has decreased. Women made their Olympic début in weightlifting at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, with seven weight classes. Beginning in 1993, the weight classes in international weightlifting have been changed several times, with a completely new set of world records. This is to eliminate the possibility of earlier records having been set by drug users prior to stricter drug controls.

Beginning in 1928, the three Olympic lifts were standardized as the military press, the snatch, and the clean & jerk. Because of difficulties judging the press, and because there was some concern that the lift was biomechanically dangerous to lifters’ backs, it was eliminated from international competition after the 1972 Olympics. Today lifters compete only in the snatch and the clean & jerk at the Olympics.

Weightlifting was dominated by the Soviet Union after its entry to the Olympics in 1952. In the 1970s and 1980s, Bulgaria challenged that dominance, although a number of its lifters ran afoul of drug testing, notably in 1992. The United States was once a weightlifting power but has won only one Olympic medal since 1968 (and none since 1976), with the exception of the 1984 Olympics which were not attended by the East European nations. In recent Games, China has emerged as a strong nation in the sport, and, with 31 Olympic titles, is currently second only to the Soviet Union. The four lifters to have won three Olympic golds, however, all represented Turkey and Greece: Halil Mutlu, Naim Süleymanoğlu, Pyrros Dimas and Akakios Kakiasvili (won his first gold for the Unified Team in 1992).

All-time medal table

Olympic Games

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Soviet Union URS 39 21 2 62
People's Republic of China CHN 32 15 8 55
United States USA 16 16 12 44
Bulgaria BUL 12 17 8 37
Islamic Republic of Iran IRI 9 5 5 19
France FRA 9 3 3 15
Turkey TUR 8 1 2 11
Germany GER 6 7 7 20
Poland POL 6 6 22 34
Greece GRE 6 5 4 15
Democratic People's Republic of Korea PRK 5 8 4 17
Italy ITA 5 4 5 14
Unified Team EUN 5 4 0 9
Egypt EGY 5 3 6 14
Thailand THA 5 2 7 14
Russian Federation RUS 4 7 6 17
Republic of Korea KOR 3 6 6 15
Austria AUT 3 4 2 9
Chinese Taipei TPE 3 2 3 8
Czechoslovakia TCH 3 2 3 8
Hungary HUN 2 9 9 20
Romania ROU 2 6 3 11
Japan JPN 2 3 9 14
Kazakhstan KAZ 2 3 5 10
Colombia COL 2 3 3 8
West Germany FRG 2 2 3 7
Cuba CUB 2 1 5 8
Georgia GEO 2 1 2 5
Ukraine UKR 2 1 2 5
East Germany GDR 1 4 6 11
Belarus BLR 1 4 3 8
Estonia EST 1 3 3 7
Great Britain GBR 1 3 3 7
Belgium BEL 1 2 1 4
Canada CAN 1 2 1 4
Denmark DEN 1 2 0 3
Australia AUS 1 1 2 4
Spain ESP 1 1 1 3
Finland FIN 1 0 2 3
Mexico MEX 1 0 2 3
Croatia CRO 1 0 1 2
Uzbekistan UZB 1 0 1 2
Norway NOR 1 0 0 1
Indonesia INA 0 6 7 13
Armenia ARM 0 3 2 5
Switzerland SUI 0 2 2 4
Trinidad and Tobago TTO 0 1 2 3
Argentina ARG 0 1 1 2
India IND 0 1 1 2
Latvia LAT 0 1 1 2
Nigeria NGR 0 1 1 2
Vietnam VIE 0 1 1 2
Lebanon LBN 0 1 0 1
Luxembourg LUX 0 1 0 1
Philippines PHI 0 1 0 1
Samoa SAM 0 1 0 1
Singapore SGP 0 1 0 1
Sweden SWE 0 0 4 4
Netherlands NED 0 0 3 3
Cameroon CMR 0 0 1 1
Iraq IRQ 0 0 1 1
Lithuania LTU 0 0 1 1
Qatar QAT 0 0 1 1
Venezuela VEN 0 0 1 1

Intercalated Games

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Austria AUT 1 1 0 2
Greece GRE 1 0 0 1
Italy ITA 0 1 0 1
Germany GER 0 0 3 3
France FRA 0 0 1 1

Youth Olympic Games

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
People's Republic of China CHN 4 2 0 6
Russian Federation RUS 3 5 0 8
Armenia ARM 3 1 1 5
Bulgaria BUL 3 1 1 5
Thailand THA 2 6 0 8
Democratic People's Republic of Korea PRK 2 2 1 5
Vietnam VIE 2 2 0 4
Turkey TUR 2 1 2 5
Islamic Republic of Iran IRI 2 0 0 2
Uzbekistan UZB 1 3 1 5
Egypt EGY 1 1 3 5
Kazakhstan KAZ 1 1 3 5
Mexico MEX 1 1 2 4
Azerbaijan AZE 1 1 0 2
Chinese Taipei TPE 1 1 0 2
India IND 1 1 0 2
Italy ITA 1 0 1 2
Romania ROU 1 0 1 2
Tunisia TUN 1 0 1 2
Venezuela VEN 1 0 1 2
Colombia COL 0 3 2 5
Georgia GEO 0 1 0 1
Serbia SRB 0 1 0 1
Indonesia INA 0 0 2 2
Ukraine UKR 0 0 2 2
Argentina ARG 0 0 1 1
Cuba CUB 0 0 1 1
Czech Republic CZE 0 0 1 1
France FRA 0 0 1 1
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia KSA 0 0 1 1
Latvia LAT 0 0 1 1
Netherlands NED 0 0 1 1
New Zealand NZL 0 0 1 1
Nigeria NGR 0 0 1 1
United States USA 0 0 1 1

Forerunners To The Olympic Games

Most successful competitors

Olympic Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Pyrros Dimas GRE 3 0 1 4
Akakios Kakiasvili GEO
GRE
EUN
3 0 0 3
Halil Mutlu TUR 3 0 0 3
Naim Süleymanoğlu TUR 3 0 0 3
Louis Hostin FRA 2 1 0 3
Yoshinobu Miyake JPN 2 1 0 3
Tommy Kono USA 2 1 0 3
Arkady Vorobyov RUS
URS
2 0 1 3
Norayr Nurikyan BUL 2 0 0 2
Zhan Xugang CHN 2 0 0 2
Waldemar Baszanowski POL 2 0 0 2
Vasily Alekseyev RUS
URS
2 0 0 2
Aliaksandr Kurlovich BLR
URS
EUN
2 0 0 2
Leonid Zhabotinsky URS
UKR
2 0 0 2
John Davis USA 2 0 0 2
Chuck Vinci USA 2 0 0 2
Hossein Reza Zadeh IRI 2 0 0 2
Chen Yanqing CHN 2 0 0 2
Long Qingquan CHN 2 0 0 2
Hsu Shu-Ching TPE 2 0 0 2
Rim Jong-Sim PRK 2 0 0 2

Intercalated Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Josef Steinbach AUT 1 1 0 2
Dimitrios Tofalos GRE 1 0 0 1
Tullio Camillotti ITA 0 1 0 1
Heinrich Schneidereit GER 0 0 2 2
Alexandre Maspoli FRA 0 0 1 1
Heinrich Rondi GER 0 0 1 1

Youth Olympic Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Boyanka Kostova AZE
BUL
1 0 0 1
Deng Wei CHN 1 0 0 1
Sara Samir EGY 1 0 0 1
Zhazira Zhapparkul KAZ 1 0 0 1
Simon Martirosyan ARM 1 0 0 1
Nidzhat Rakhimov AZE
KAZ
1 0 0 1
Thạch Kim Tuấn VIE 1 0 0 1
Tian Yuan CHN 1 0 0 1
Olga Zubova RUS 1 0 0 1
Georgi Shikov BUL 1 0 0 1
Alireza Kazeminejad IRI 1 0 0 1
Kim Song-Chol PRK 1 0 0 1
Artyom Okulov RUS 1 0 0 1
Jiang Huihua CHN 1 0 0 1
Duanganksorn Chaidee THA 1 0 0 1
Rattanaphon Pakkaratha THA 1 0 0 1
Chiang Nien-Hsin TPE 1 0 0 1
Hakob Mkrtchyan ARM 1 0 0 1
Bozhidar Dimitrov Andreev BUL 1 0 0 1
Meng Cheng CHN 1 0 0 1
Pak Jong-Ju PRK 1 0 0 1
Khetag Khugayev RUS 1 0 0 1
Karen Margaryan ARM 1 0 0 1
Jeremy Lalrinnunga IND 1 0 0 1
Alireza Yousefi IRI 1 0 0 1
Cristiano Ficco ITA 1 0 0 1
Muhammed Furkan Özbek TUR 1 0 0 1
Ngô Sơn Đỉnh VIE 1 0 0 1
Yésica Hernández MEX 1 0 0 1
Sabina Baltag ROU 1 0 0 1
Ghofrane Belkhir TUN 1 0 0 1
Dilara Narin TUR 1 0 0 1
Kumushkhon Fayzullayeva UZB 1 0 0 1
Katherin Echandia VEN 1 0 0 1

Forerunners To The Olympic Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total

Event types

Name Gender Still contested? Times held?
Bantamweight Men 18
Featherweight Men 23
Lightweight Men 23
Middleweight Men 23
Light-Heavyweight Men 23
Middle-Heavyweight Men 17
Heavyweight Men 18
Super-Heavyweight Men 12
Flyweight Women 6
Featherweight Women 5
Lightweight Women 5
Middleweight Women 5
Light-Heavyweight Women 5
Heavyweight Women 5
Super-Heavyweight Women 5
Bantamweight Boys 3
Featherweight Boys 3
Lightweight Boys 3
Middleweight Boys 3
Heavyweight Boys 3
Super-Heavyweight Boys 3
Featherweight Girls 3
Bantamweight Girls 1
Lightweight Girls 3
Middleweight Girls 3
Heavyweight Girls 3
Super-Heavyweight Girls 3
Flyweight Men 7
Heavyweight I Men 5
Heavyweight II Men 5
Unlimited, One Hand Men 3
Unlimited, Two Hands Men 4
All-Around Dumbbell Contest Men 1