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Une haltérophile Allemande soulève une barre au dessus de sa tête.

Weightlifting as a sport has been around for thousands of years and the objective remains unchanged – lift more than everyone else. Evidence of the sport dates back to ancient Egypt and Greece, where people lifted heavy stones in contests of strength. Weightlifting re-emerged in the 19th century, when it became an international sport. 

Brief overview of the rules

The Olympic weightlifting programme has greatly evolved over time. There are two lifting techniques – the snatch and the clean and jerk – both of which were established at the Montreal 1976 Games. In the snatch, the bar is lifted from the floor to above the head in one movement. By contrast, the clean and jerk is a two-stage action – the bar is first brought up to the chest and racked across the front of the shoulders before being jerked over the head. These extremely demanding exercises require exceptional physical strength and ironclad mental resolve.

Today, competitors perform both lifts and their results are combined to determine their overall score. The competitor with the highest total score is declared the winner. Men and women compete across five weight classes.

Olympic history

Weightlifting featured at the first Olympic Games held in modern history – the Athens 1896 Games. Excluded from the Olympic programme for a few editions of the Games (1900, 1908 and 1912), weightlifting was reintroduced in 1920 at the Antwerp Games and has been included ever since. Women’s competitions appeared at the 2000 Games in Sydney. 

At the beginning of the 20th century, European countries – particularly Germany, Austria and France – dominated weightlifting. From the 1950s onwards, Soviet athletes topped the podium until the 1990s, when China, Turkey, Greece and Iran took the lead.  China has been dominating women’s weightlifting since it was introduced as an official Olympic sport.  

Events in 2024

  • Weight categories to be defined.

Venue in 2024

South Paris Arena #6

International organisation

International federation : International Weightlifting Federation

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