weight lifting


weight lifting
n.
the athletic exercise or competitive sport of lifting barbells: also written weightlifting
weight lifter
n.
weightlifter

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Sport in which barbells are lifted competitively or as an exercise.

The two main events are (1) the snatch, in which the barbell is lifted from the floor to arm's length overhead in a single, continuous motion; and (2) the clean and jerk, in which it is lifted first to the shoulders and then, after a pause, to arm's length overhead. Contestants are divided into 10 body-weight categories ranging from flyweight to superheavyweight. Lifts may range to over 1,000 lbs (455 kg) in the heavyweight divisions. The origins of modern competition are to be found in 18th-and 19th-century strongman contests. The first three Olympic Games (1896, 1900, 1904) included weight lifting, as have all games after 1920.

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▪ 2005

      Weight lifters met at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens for the sport's most important event of the year. A total of 249 athletes from 79 countries entered the competition: 163 men in eight body-weight classes and 86 women in seven body-weight classes. Forty-three Olympic records, 14 world records, and 12 junior world records were broken.

      In the women's division China topped the rankings with four medals (three gold and one silver), followed by Thailand (two gold and two bronze), Russia (one silver and two bronze), and Belarus (one silver and one bronze). Eight other countries captured one medal each. Tang Gonghong from China won the women's superheavyweight category with a 305-kg (672.4-lb) overall total, a new world record. Turkey's Nurcan Taylan and Liu Chunhong of China each set three world records to take the gold in the 48-kg and 69-kg divisions, respectively.

      Russia topped the men's rankings with five medals (one gold, one silver, and three bronze), followed by China (two gold and two silver), Turkey (two gold and one bronze), and Bulgaria (one gold and one bronze). Ten other countries each won one medal. Hossein Rezazadeh from Iran, the reigning superheavyweight champion from the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, won the overall title with a 472.5-kg (1,041.7-lb) total result.

Dragomir Cioroslan

▪ 2004

      The 2003 International Weightlifting Federation world championships took place in Vancouver, B.C., on November 14–22. It was also the main qualification event for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, as the teams that finished in the top 28 places in the men's division and the top 17 positions in the women's earned spots for the Olympics. A total of 505 athletes entered the competition, 297 men representing 59 countries in eight body-weight classes and 208 women representing 47 countries in seven body-weight classes.

      China topped the women's medal rankings with 19 medals (15 gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze), followed by Thailand (8), Ukraine (5), North Korea (3), and Belarus (2). China's Ding Meiyuan, the 2000 Olympic champion, won the women's superheavyweight category with a 300-kg (661.4-lb) overall total. In the women's competition 23 world records—12 senior and 11 junior—were broken. Chinese athletes broke 10 world records, and competitors from Thailand broke 5.

      In the men's division China topped the medal rankings with 13 (6 gold, 5 silver, and 2 bronze), followed by Iran (5, including 4 gold), Turkey (12), Bulgaria (6), and Russia (7). Iran's superheavyweight Hossein Rezazadeh, the reigning Olympic and world champion, won the 2003 title with a 457.5-kg (1,008.6-lb) total result. Two junior men's world records were broken, both by Vladislav Lukanin of Russia.

Dragomir Cioroslan

▪ 2003

      Warsaw was the site of the 2002 world weight lifting championships, held on November 18–26. A total of 285 athletes entered the competition, 170 men representing 47 countries in eight body-weight classes and 115 women representing 37 countries in seven body-weight classes.

      In the women's division China topped the medal rankings with 18 (9 gold, 8 silver, and 1 bronze), followed by Russia (5 gold, 2 silver, and 3 bronze), Thailand (2 gold, 3 silver, and 3 bronze), and Poland and South Korea (2 gold and 1 silver each). Agata Wrobel of Poland won the superheavyweight category with a 287.5-kg (633.9-lb) overall total. Superheavyweight Cheryl Haworth of the U.S. won two bronze medals, one in the snatch and one in the clean and jerk—the only medals won by an American athlete at these championships. Chinese athletes broke 13 world records, South Korean and Greek competitors one each.

      China topped the men's rankings with 13 medals (8 gold, 4 silver, and 1 bronze), followed by Bulgaria (4 gold, 8 silver, and 3 bronze), Iran (3 gold and 3 bronze), Russia (2 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze), and Azerbaijan (2 gold and 1 silver). Superheavyweight Hosein Rezazadeh of Iran, the reigning Olympic champion, won the overall world champion title with a 472.5-kg (1041.9-lb) total result. He broke the world record in the clean and jerk with a lift of 263 kg (580 lb). Two-time Olympic champion Andrey Chemerkin of Russia was eliminated from the competition after he missed all three attempts in the clean and jerk at 245 kg (540.2 lb). Rezazadeh's world record was the only one set in the men's competition.

Dragomir Cioroslan

▪ 2002

      The 2001 International Weightlifting Federation world championships were held in Antalya, Turkey, on November 3–11. A total of 265 athletes entered the competition: 151 men representing 47 countries in eight body-weight classes and 114 women representing 34 countries in seven body-weight classes.

      In the men's division Turkey topped the medal rankings with 8 (5 gold, 2 silver, and 1 bronze), followed by Qatar (6 medals, 5 of them gold), Bulgaria (5), Russia (10), and Georgia (3). Superheavyweight Saeed Salem Jaber of Qatar won the overall world champion title with a 460-kg (1,012-lb) overall total. Two-time Olympic superheavyweight champion Andrey Chemerkin of Russia finished third. Henadzy Alyashchuk of Belarus, Vladimir Smorchkov of Russia, and Halil Mutlu of Turkey each broke one world record.

      Russia topped the women's rankings with 9 medals (6 gold, 2 silver, and 1 bronze), followed by China (14, including 5 gold), Poland (8), Hungary (7), and Taiwan (10). Albina Khomitch of Russia won the superheavyweight class with a 282.5-kg (622.8-lb) overall total. Agatha Wrobel of Poland was second. Jackie Berube, the only American at the championships, placed fifth in the 58-kg class. Two senior world records and six junior world records were broken in the women's competition. Hungarian athletes broke five world records, the Russians two, and the Chinese one.

Dragomir Cioroslan

▪ 2001

      The weight lifting competition of the Games of the XXVII Olympiad was held in the Sydney Convention Centre in Sydney, Australia, in September 2000. For the first time in the history of the Olympic Games women weight lifters officially participated. The International Weightlifting Federation only allowed a maximum of four women athletes from each country to compete. A total of 247 athletes entered the competition: 162 men representing 63 countries in eight weight classes and 85 women from 47 countries in seven weight classes.

      China topped the rankings with seven medals (five gold, one silver, and one bronze), followed by Greece with five medals (two gold, two silver, and one bronze), Iran (two gold), Bulgaria (one gold and two silver), and the U.S. (one gold and one bronze). Superheavyweight Hossein Rezazadeh of Iran won the overall Olympic champion title with a 472.5 kg (1,041.7 lb) overall total, a new world and Olympic record. He defeated Olympic champion Andrey Chemerkin of Russia. Three-time world champion Halil Mutlu of Turkey, called the “Little Dynamo,” won his second Olympic gold and broke his own world records in the 56-kg class. (See Biographies (Mutlu, Halil ).) American Tara Nott captured the first Olympic gold medal awarded for women's weight lifting, in the 48-kg category.

      Nine world records, 17 Olympic records, and 7 junior world records were broken in the men's competition. Seventeen world records, 17 Olympic records, and 3 junior world records were broken in the women's event.

Dragomir Cioroslan

▪ 2000

      In 1999 the 70th men's world championships and 13th women's world championships, held in Athens in November, were designated by the International Weightlifting Federation as the main qualifying events in the sport for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. A total of 626 athletes representing 88 countries entered the competition—395 men in eight bodyweight classes and 231 women in seven bodyweight classes—the highest participation in the history of the competition.

      Greece topped the rankings in the men's events with 581 points, followed by Bulgaria (465 points) and China (437). Greece won one overall gold medal, four silver, and one bronze. Bulgaria won one overall gold and two bronze medals, while China, Qatar, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine took one overall gold each. Fourteen world records were broken in the men's competition, with Bulgarian and Turkish athletes breaking four world records each. Superheavyweight Andrey Chemerkin of Russia earned his fourth overall world title with a 457.5 kg (1,006.5 lb) overall total.

      China dominated the women's events, capturing a total of 18 medals (including four overall gold medals, one silver, and one bronze) and scoring 530 points to win the competition. Taiwan (392 points and 11 medals) placed second, winning two overall gold medals and one bronze. Bulgaria placed third (374 points and 5 medals), followed by Indonesia (5) and South Korea (3). Fifteen senior world records and nine junior world records were broken in the women's event; Chinese athletes broke eight senior and seven junior world records.

Dragomir Cioroslan

▪ 1999

      In 1998 the 69th men's world championships and the 12th women's world championships were held in Lahti, Fin. The events comprised eight new body-weight classes for men (down from 10) and seven body-weight classes for women (down from nine), as approved by the International Weightlifting Federation in 1997 and effective in 1998.

      Greece and Bulgaria topped the tally in the men's event with the same number of medals (five) and points (566) and were separated only by the number of overall gold medals. Greece won three overall gold medals, one silver, and one bronze to place first. Bulgaria captured two overall gold medals, one silver, and two bronze and finished in second place. Super heavyweight Andrey Chemerkin of Russia earned his third overall title, and Akakios Kakiasvilis of Greece received the award for the best lifter in the 94-kg division. Chinese weight lifters broke one world record, and Bulgaria and Greece broke two.

      China dominated the women's event, capturing 13 gold medals and 3 silver and scoring 508 points to win the competition. Taiwan won 5 gold medals, and Finland took 2. China (19 medals) topped the final tally, followed by Taiwan (16), Bulgaria (5), Russia (4), and Finland, Colombia, and Hungary (3 each). Chinese athletes broke four world records. Karoliina Lundahl of Finland received the award for the best lifter in the 75-kg division.

DRAGOMIR CIOROSLAN

▪ 1998

      At the 1997 world championships, held in December in Chiang Mai, Thai., China dominated both the men's and the women's competition, as it had at the 1995 championships, held in Guangzhou (Canton), China.

      In the men's events China won three overall gold medals, three silver, and one bronze and scored 637 points to win the team competition. Bulgaria won three gold medals, and Moldova, Poland, Russia, and Slovakia won one gold each. In the final tally, Bulgaria was second to China, with a total of five overall medals. Poland won four, Turkey three, and Russia two.

      Superheavyweight Andrey Chemerkin of Russia, the Olympic champion in 1996, won the clean and jerk and the overall title with a new world record of 462.5 kg (1,019.6 lb). American Wes Barnett won a bronze overall in the 108-kg division, the first U.S. overall medal at the world championships since 1976. Four world records were broken in the men's competition.

      In the women's events China won six overall gold medals and one silver and scored 657 points to win the team competition. Indonesia won two overall gold medals, and Turkey captured one. China's seven overall medals topped the final tally, followed by Indonesia, Turkey, and Taiwan, with three each. Fifteen world records were broken in the women's competition, 12 by China and 3 by Turkey.From 1998 the men's competition would include only eight body-weight classes; women weight lifters, who would finally be included in the Olympics at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia, would compete in seven classes.

DRAGOMIR CIOROSLAN

▪ 1997

      Because of revisions of weight classifications instituted by the International Weightlifting Federation in 1992, all total lift performances for the winning lifters were Olympic records in the 1996 Olympic Games at Atlanta, Ga. Though Bulgaria and the republics of the former Soviet Union had dominated the previous Olympics, China, Turkey, Russia, and Greece each won two gold medals in 1996. Greece also added three silver medals, and China gained one silver and one bronze; Russia won one silver medal.

      The most prominent Olympic champion in 1996 was Naim Suleymanoglu of Turkey. He won his third Olympic gold to go with his seven world titles. Kilogram for kilogram, the 64-kg (141-lb) class champion was regarded by many as the finest lifter in the sport's history.

      Although there was no Olympic competition for women, a separate world championship was held in Warsaw in May. The Chinese women dominated the competition, winning all nine of the weight classes. In the 83-kg class, Wei Xiangying set a new world record of 242.5 kg for the combination of snatch and clean and jerk.

      (CHARLES ROBERT PAUL, JR.)

▪ 1996

      For the first time, China dominated both the men's and women's competition in the 1995 world weight lifting championships. The championships were held for the first time in Asia, at Guangzhou (Canton), China.

      In the men's events China won two gold, one silver, and two bronze medals for total lifts and scored 359 points in the team competition, placing all 10 of its lifters in the top 15 for the snatch, clean and jerk, and total lifts. Greece won three gold medals; Russia won two; and Turkey, Cuba, and Ukraine gained one each. Both Greece and Russia earned five medals overall.

      Naim Suleymanoglu of Turkey won his seventh world title. He tied with Valerios Leonidis of Greece in the 64-kg (141-lb) class but was awarded first place because of his lower body weight. Similarly, Kahki Kakhiasvillis of Greece won the 99-kg class over Russia's Sergey Syrtsov because of a lower body weight.

      In the women's events China won five gold and three silver medals. The other gold medals went to Taiwan with two and to India and Hungary with one each. In addition to Suleymanoglu, the only other 1994 champions to repeat were Russia's Aleksey Petrov in the 91-kg division and Cuba's Pablo Lara in the 76-kg class.

      (CHARLES ROBERT PAUL, JR.)

▪ 1995

      In the 1994 world weight lifting championships at Istanbul in November, Russia, Turkey, and Bulgaria dominated the men's competition, and China won five titles in the women's events. After sweeping all nine classes in the Asian championships, China sent an entirely new team to the women's world championships.

      In the men's competition there were 242 lifters from 52 nations, while 30 countries were represented among the 105 athletes in the women's competition. Bulgaria won the most medals in the men's class with one gold, two silvers, and three bronzes. Turkey won three golds, and Russia earned two golds. Among the women China accounted for five golds, one silver, and one bronze in the nine classes. Taiwan captured two silvers and two bronzes.

      Seven world records were set for total lifts in the 10 men's weight classes. The only record setter among the women was Hongyun Li of China in the 64-kg (141-lb) class. Two two-time Olympic champions were among the winners. Naim Suleymanoglu of Turkey won his sixth world title with a record total lift of 330 kg (726 lb) in the 64-kg (141-lb) class. Aleksandr Kurlovich, now representing Belarus, set a world mark of 457.5 kg (1,006.5 lb) in the super heavyweight class. (CHARLES R. PAUL, JR.)

▪ 1994

      Ukraine and China captured team honours in, respectively, the men's and women's world weight-lifting championships, held in November 1993 in Melbourne, Australia. The International Weightlifting Federation had revised the weight classifications slightly to encourage more world records, an effort to compensate for the slowdown in new marks caused by strict testing for drug abuse in recent years. Six world marks were established in the men's total lifts, while the women accounted for eight world records in nine weight divisions.

      Bulgaria won four titles in the total lift (combined total of snatch and clean-and-jerk lifts), leading off with 1992 Olympic Games champion Ivan Ivanov in the 54-kg (118.8-lb) class. In the women's competition China won six total lift gold medals, with four of the winners being teenagers.

      In addition to Ivanov, other 1992 Olympic champions winning gold medals were Pyrros Dimas of Greece, in the 82.5-kg (181.5-lb) class; Viktor Tregubov of Russia in the 91.8-kg (201.9-lb) class; and Turkey's Naim Suleymanoglu, perhaps the greatest lifter for his weight in the history of the sport, in the 64-kg (140.8-lb) class.

      Ukraine won the men's team honours in spite of winning only one gold, one silver, and one bronze medal. Among the other champions were Germany's super heavyweight Ronnie Weller, with a world record total lift of 442 kg (972.4 lb), and Timur Taimazov of Ukraine, victor in the 108-kg (237.6-lb) class.

      For the first time the women's championships were held in conjunction with the men's. The Chinese women's team swept the day with six gold medals and two silvers in the total lifts. Taiwan won three gold medals, and Bulgaria accounted for the other championship.

      (CHARLES ROBERT PAUL, JR.)

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sport
Introduction
 sport in which barbells are lifted competitively or as an exercise.

      Weight lifting has a lengthy history. For many prehistoric tribes, the traditional test of manhood was the lifting of a special rock. Such manhood stones, some with the name of the first lifter incised, exist in Greece and in Scottish castles. The competitive lifting of stones still persists locally in Germany, Switzerland, the highlands of Montenegro, and the Basque region of Spain. In many such events the consecutive number of lifts within a given time period is used to declare a winner.

      For other activities using weights but distinct from weight lifting, see weight training, bodybuilding, and powerlifting.

History
 The origins of modern competition are to be found in the 18th- and 19th-century strong men, such as Eugene Sandow (Sandow, Eugen) and Arthur Saxon of Germany, George Hackenschmidt (Hackenschmidt, George) of Russia, and Louis Apollon of France, who performed in circuses and theatres. By 1891 there was international competition in London. The revived Olympic Games of 1896 included weight-lifting events, as did the Games of 1900 and 1904, but thereafter these events were suspended until 1920. In that year, at the suggestion of the International Olympic Committee, the International Weightlifting Federation (Fédération Haltérophile Internationale; FHI) was formed to regularize events and supervise international competition. By 1928 the one- and two-hand lifts of earlier Games had given way to only two-hand lifts: the snatch, the clean and jerk, and the clean and press (described below). The press was abandoned in 1972. In the Games before World War II, the leading weight lifters were French, German, and Egyptian. After the war American weight lifters were dominant until 1953. Thereafter Soviet and Bulgarian weight lifters held a virtual monopoly on world records and championships. By the late 1990s the leading countries competing in weight lifting were Turkey, Greece, and China. World championships were held in 1922–23 and from 1937, except during the war years, and European championships were held from 1924 through 1936. A weight-lifting competition for women was added to the Olympic Games in 2000.

Equipment
      The weight used in modern competitive lifting is the barbell, a steel bar or rod to which cast-iron or steel disk weights are attached at each end on a revolving sleeve. The range of weights added is 25, 20, 15, 10, 5, 2.5, and 1.25 kg (55, 44, 33, 22, 11, 5.5, and 2.75 pounds).

Lifts
  From 1928 to 1968, the three international lifts were the snatch, the clean and jerk, and the press (or clean and press). In all lifts the barbell rests on the floor initially. In the snatch, the barbell is lifted from the floor to arm's length overhead in a single, continuous, explosive movement with the lifter being permitted to move his feet or to squat under the barbell as he lifts it before recovering to an erect position. The clean and jerk is a two-part lift. After lifting the barbell to the shoulders, the lifter jerks it overhead to arm's length, with no restrictions on the time necessary to complete the lift or on leg movements. In both lifts, the lifter must complete the lift with feet in line, body erect, arms and legs extended, and the barbell in control overhead. The lifter must either hold the weight overhead for two seconds or wait for the referee's signal before lowering the barbell back to the floor. The press was also a two-part lift. As in the clean and jerk, the barbell was brought to the lifter's shoulders, the same foot motion being allowed. Then the lifter had to stand erect until the referee signaled for the completion of the lift, which was achieved by pressing the barbell upward in a steady continuous movement to arm's length overhead but without any assistance by moving the legs. Lifts are performed on a wooden platform 4 metres (13.1 feet) square. If a lifter steps off the platform during a lift, the lift is not allowed.

Weight categories
      Men's competitions are divided into 8 body-weight categories (upper limits given): 56 kg (123 pounds), 62 kg (137 pounds), 69 kg (152 pounds), 77 kg (170 pounds), 85 kg (187 pounds), 94 kg (207 pounds), 105 kg (231 pounds), and more than 105 kg. For women there are 7 weight divisions: 48 kg (106 pounds), 53 kg (117 pounds), 58 kg (128 pounds), 63 kg (139 pounds), 69 kg (152 pounds), 75 kg (165 pounds), and more than 75 kg.

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Universalium. 2010.

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