Weightlifting: Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021

Weightlifting: Olympics 2020-2021

A presence at the inaugural Olympic Games in 1896, Weightlifting is still going strong at the quadrennial event. However, that wasn't the case initially, as weightlifting wasn't a regular Olympic sport until the 1920 edition at Antwerp. For over 80 years, it remained a male-dominated sport until the 2000 Games in Sydney which saw women compete for the first time. 

As a core Olympic sport, weightlifting represents the third word of the Olympic Motto i.e. Fortius. It is a test of strength, technique, and concentration.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 09: Karem Ben Hnia of Tunisia competes during the Men's 69kg Group A Weightlifting contest on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Riocentro - Pavilion 2 on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The most successful weightlifter of all time is Greece's Pyrros Dimas. He claimed 4 medals (3 Gold and 1 Bronze) across four Games from 1992 Barcelona to 2004 Athens.  

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Weightlifting has expanded from a mere one-hand lift and two-hand lift in Athens 1896, to a 5 weight event at Antwerp 1920, to a 14 event program at the Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021.

Weightlifting at the Tokyo Olympics 

At Tokyo 2020, weightlifters will compete in one of 14 different events across multiple weight classes. There will be 7 events for men and 7 events for women. 

This is one event less than the Rio 2016 Games where medals were up on offer across 15 events. A total of 196 weightlifters will compete at the Tokyo International Forum from July 24. 

Top weightlifters in Tokyo 2020-2021

Weightlifting hasn't been a kind sport for team USA in recent times. A squad of 8 (4 men and 4 women) will attempt to change the narrative inside the Tokyo International Forum. Team USA will see Wes Kitts, C.J. Cummings, Harrison Maurus, and Caine Wilkes compete in the men's events.

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The quartet will seek to end the country's medal drought in the men's competition which began at the 1988 Games. Their last weightlifting medal came courtesy Mario Martinez's silver in 1984. 

Sarah Robles, Katharine Rye, Mattie Rogers, and Jourdan Delacruz will lead the charge on the women's side of things. Robles will look to build on her gold from Rio 2016 and inspire Americans to take up weightlifting.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Lasha Talakhadze of Georgia sets a new world record during the Men's +105kg Weightlifting contest on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro - Pavilion 2 on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The men's super heavyweight class will feature the return of defending gold medalist, Lasha Talakhadze. He will seek to better his 473 kg (1042 lbs) combined lift and stamp his dominance in the sport. 

On the women's side of things, Lidia Valentin Perez will be one to keep your eyes on as she seeks to take her dominance to another weight class. After winning Gold at Rio at 75kg (166 lbs), she will seek to prove herself at 87kg (191 lbs) at the Tokyo International Forum. 

Meanwhile, New Zealand will send the first transgender athlete to the Olympic Games. Laurel Hubbard will seek gold in the Women's 87 kg (192) category on August 2. 

Types of weightlifting

Weightlifting will be contested across 6 lifts for each participant. These will be divided equally among the Snatch (3 lifts) and the Clean and Jerk (3 lifts).

Competition format

As there will be only 14 weightlifters in each weight class, the first round will serve as the final round. As has been the norm with all weightlifting competitions, weightlifters will aim for gold by competing across two types of rounds with three attempts each. These rounds are the snatch round and the clean and jerk round. 

The total of the highest weight lifted in each of the rounds (highest in snatch + highest in clean and jerk) will qualify as the score for the final tally. In the event of two or more weightlifters having the same final weight lifted, the one who weighs less will place higher. In the unlikely event of this being the same, the lifter whose best attempt came first will take home the prize. 

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Even if a lift is successful, the judges may not count it as every lift needs to be executed properly. For example, in the clean and jerk round, the weightlifter needs to hold the barbell with the arms raised above their shoulders, but their legs cannot be open as was in the crouching position a.k.a. the jerk. 

Schedule for Weightlifting at Tokyo Olympics 2020

Weightlifting will take place for 12 days of the 2020 Olympic Games. It will begin on Day 2, i.e. 24th July with the Women's 49 kg (109 lbs) (July 24) event. It will end on Day 13 with the Men's 109+ kg (240+ lbs) (August 4) event. 

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EventFinal Date
Men's 61 kg (134 lbs)July 25
Men's 67 kg (147 lbs)July 25
Men's 73 kg (160 lbs)July 28
Men's 81 kg (178 lbs)July 31
Men’s 96 kg (211 lbs)July 31
Men's 109 kg (240 lbs)August 2
Men's 109+ kg (240+lbs)August 3
Women's 49 kg (109 lbs)July 24
Women's 55 kg (121lbs)July 26
Women's 59 kg (130 lbs)July 27
Women's 64 kg (141 lbs)July 27
Women's 76 kg (167 lbs)August 1
Women's 87 kg (191 lbs)August 2
Women's 87+ kg (191+ lbs)August 2

Tokyo 2020: Weightlifting Venue

All weightlifting events at the Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021 will take place at the Tokyo International Forum

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Venue Tokyo International Forum
Date24th July 2021- 4th August 2021
Players from each country 196
ChannelPeacock TV (US), BBC iPlayer (UK), Eurosport Player (Europe), TSN (Canada), Channel 7 (Australia), Sony LIV (India)
Most medals ever in the sport (Individual)Pyrros Dimas (4)