Sunday, February 14, 2016

Weightlifting in the Summer Olympics

Weightlifting is a competitive sport which is highly organized both at the Olympics and other championships. Weight lifting has been part of the Summer Olympics Games since the first edition of the Summer Olympics held in 1896 in Athens. However it would miss the 1900 Paris Summer Olympics only to get back to the games in the third edition of the Summer Olympics of 1904 held at Missouri's St Louis in the US. Its featuring in the Summer Olympics was not consistence as it missed inclusion in the 1908 and 1912 summer editions only to get back to the games in the 1920 edition.

Since the 1920 Summer Olympics, held in Antwerp, Belgium it has always been part of the Summer Olympics and will feature in the Rio edition of the Summer Olympics to be held later in August this year.

Like Boxing and Wrestling in the Summer Olympics, weight lifting is classified using body weight. But it was never this way. In the 1986 and 1904 Summer Olympics there were only two events.

In the 1896 Summer Olympics, the two events were:

The one hand lift where the competitors had three initial attempts where the competitors were allowed to lift once then tried their second lifting and then the third. Once a competitor lifted three times, any three winners were allowed to try three more times. The winner was allowed three more trials until only one remained and was declared the winner.

The two hand lift was similar to the one hand lift in the trials and differed in that two hands were used. It is similar to modern day jerk weightlifting.

The 1904 Summer Olympics weight lifting had two events too with no weight classification but the one hand lift was replaced by the all-around dumbbell. In all-around dumbbell which was like a combination of one hand lift and two hands lift.

After Weightlifting absence in the 1908 and 1912 Summer Olympics and its return in the Belgium Olympics Games the weight classification was introduced.

Between the 1920 and the 1936, only five events featured and these were weight based. Three events were Heavy weight for those weighing over 82 and ½ kilograms, Light-heavyweight for those between 75 kilograms and those below 82 and ½ kilograms, Middleweight for those weighing between 67 and ½ kilograms and 75 kilograms, Lightweight for those weighing 60 kilograms and 67 and ½ kilograms and Featherweight for those weighing less than 60 kilograms.

The 1948 Summer Olympics edition saw the inclusion of 2 weight classifications. The new weight classes were Featherweight for those weighing between 56 kilograms and 60 kilograms and Bantamweight for those weighing less than 56 kilograms

By the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics, weightlifting sport had 10 weight categories.

The women weightlifting was introduced in the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics. Women have been competing in 7 weight classes which are: from the lightest 48 kilograms, 53 kilograms, 58 kilograms, 63 kilograms, 69 kilograms, 75 kilograms and those above 75 kilograms. The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio will not be any different in the women weightlifting sport.

The most successful nation in the Summer Olympics has been Former USSR, which leads the medal table with 39 gold medals, followed China with 24 gold medals. USA has managed to get 16 gold medals and its third most successful nation in weightlifting followed closely by Bulgaria with 12 gold medals. The fifth most successful nation in Summer Olympics weightlifting is France. Egypt is the most successful nation from Africa with 5 gold medals and globally it’s in position 14, while Colombia and Mexico are the most successful South America nations each with a single gold medal.

The number of participants has also increased from the 1896 Summer Olympics 7 to 259 who participated in the 2012 London Summer Olympics. The number of participating teams and nations has increased with the highest participating teams recorded at 84 in both 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Summer Olympics. In Rio Summer Olympics we expect more teams and participants in the weightlifting sport.