Weightlifting is one of the oldest competitive sports, being one of the seven sports that made up the programme of the 1st modern Olympic Games in 1896 and one of the simplest to understand. Athletes have to lift more than their rivals to win.
It’s also the sport with lift terminology to make the childish chuckle. Weightlifters use either the ‘snatch’ or the ‘clean and jerk’ to hoist the mighty bar above their heads.
This incredible spectacle of strength, determination and technique takes place at ExCel and there are 15 medals up for grabs with eight men’s and seven women’s bodyweight categories.
Fun fact! Harold Sakata, better known as Oddjob from the James Bond film ‘Goldfinger’, won a silver medal for the USA at the London 1948 Olympic Games.
Paralympic Powerlifting is a bench press competition. 200 men and women athletes of various disabilities will lift several times their own bodyweight, extending their arms within 20 degrees of full extension, in a bid to bag one of 20 gold medals.
C4 Paralympics describe this as a “backbreaking event involves years of training, the consumption of a lorry-load of pasta and natural talent.”
Did you know? The heaviest weight ever bench pressed in a powerlifting Paralympic event is a whopping 265kg – that’s the equivalent of a fully-grown adult tiger after a good meal*.
Anyone can start pumping iron at their local gym but if you want to get serious, join a club. British Weightlifting affiliate clubs in Bethnal Green, Crystal Palace, Homerton, Wood Green, Kensal Green, Brunel University and St Marys University College.
Get the Londonist lowdown on all Olympic and Paralympic sports.