Heavy Weight Lifting Fails – New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard made history by becoming the first transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics – but missed out on the podium by a long way because she couldn’t complete a lift.
Competing in the 87 kg category in Tokyo, Hubbard overbalanced with his opening weight of 120 kg and took the bar behind his shoulder.
Heavy Weight Lifting Fails
Team GB’s Emily Campbell won silver to become the first British woman to win an Olympic medal in the 283kg weightlifter.
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He finished behind China’s Li Wenwen, who set a new Olympic record with a total of 320 kg. It was his country’s seventh victory in the sport at the Tokyo Games.
Hubbard’s controversial debut made her the first transgender athlete to compete in an individual sport in the Games’ 125-year history.
When he pulled out of the competition, he said: “Of course I am not fully aware of the controversy surrounding my participation in the Games.
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“And as such, I want to give special thanks to the IOC for, I think, really reaffirming its commitment to the principles of Olympism and affirming that sport is accessible to all. This includes. Affordable.”
He also thanked the International Weightlifting Federation for “showing that weightlifting is an activity open to all people in the world” and the people of Japan for hosting the Games during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 43-year-old competitor is almost twice his average competitor age, and as he moved 285 kg during qualifying, he was also one of the strongest in the field.
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Athletes are eliminated if they do not record at least one valid lift in two parts of the competition.
Hubbard’s involvement was as divisive an issue as whether the games should have been canceled even during the global pandemic.
Prior to the Games, Hubbard, ranked 15th in the world, praised the organizers for allowing him to compete.
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Ahead of his participation in Tokyo 2020, Hubbard said: “The Olympic Games are a global celebration of our hopes, ideals and values.
Hubbard transitioned in 2012 and competed in international weightlifting for the first time in 2017 — and has been the focus of support and criticism as she prepares for her first Olympics.
He met the International Olympic Committee (IOC) qualification criteria for testosterone levels, which revised its rules for trans athletes in 2016.
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Before switching to women’s, Hubbard competed in the men’s shot put and set a junior national record in 1998, lifting 300kg in the M105+ class. Here’s how it works: When you press or deadlift, you contract your muscles and hold your breath to create internal pressure that increases stability and localizes the force (called the Valsalva maneuver). But that combination also causes blood pressure to rise dramatically, explains Brian St. Pierre, R.D., C.S.C.S., director of Performance Nutrition at Precision Nutrition. “Once the lift is complete and the muscle contraction is released, the blood pressure drops dramatically, sometimes causing dizziness or even fainting before the pressure returns to normal,” he adds.
If your body is physically rising quickly (as opposed to bench pressing), gravity doesn’t help matters either – as you rise, the movement sends blood up your legs, temporarily constricting blood in the brain. provides and sees stars.
The good news? Your blood pressure should return to normal within a minute or two of putting the weights down. The bad news? You can’t completely prevent the feeling of confusion. But it can alleviate dizziness to some extent, says St. Pierre. For starters, when you start lifting, make sure you are well-hydrated and well-nourished. If your body is dehydrated or low in sodium, this alone can increase your blood pressure. A drop in blood sugar due to a missed meal contributes to dizziness.
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And don’t forget to breathe, says New York coach Chris Ryan of C.S.C.S. Simply holding your breath cuts off oxygen to the brain, bringing you to the brink of fainting. “Especially in the press, people tend to hold their breath at the top,” says Ryan. “When you’re carrying hundreds of pounds over your head and struggling to breathe for even five seconds, you’re going to feel even more dizzy.”
Bottom line: fuel well, practice breathing (yes, seriously) on the big lifts, and don’t panic if the world goes dark for a moment when you’ve set a new personal record for deadlifts. The sport has had many iconic moments throughout its storied history, and we think these are the cream of the crop.
Ask any competitive weightlifter in the world and they will tell you that their main opponent in a meet is the barbell they have to lift. Weightlifting as a sport was not necessarily designed to pit athletes directly against each other – the real challenge is the weight itself.
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Nevertheless, there will always be conflicts and moments when two (or more) athletes go head-to-head in the heat of competition. After all, there is only one gold medal, and career weightlifters have always been willing to shed blood, sweat and tears fighting for it.
While it would be nearly impossible to rank the best moments of a sport as old as weightlifting, we think there are some that shine a little brighter than the rest. Here are our picks for the greatest weightlifting battles of all time.
For many weightlifting fans, the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta between Naim Suleymanoglu of Turkey and Valerios Leonidis of Greece in the men’s 64 kg is the most impressive event in the history of the sport. The recent political turmoil between Greece and Turkey added to the tension at the event, with their lifters so far removed from the rest of the field that it was considered a two-man race from the outset.
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“It’s not a race of countries, it’s a race of pride,” Leonidis said in an upcoming interview, hinting at his desperation for the gold medal. At the previous Olympics in Barcelona, he took fifth place, where Sülejmanoglu won handsomely. However, the Greek equaled Süleymanoglu at the last World Cup, so the stakes are higher than ever in Atlanta.
In the split, Sulejmanoglu set the tone early, opening at 145 kilograms, five kilograms above Leonidis’ initial effort and well over twice his bodyweight. The Greek continued the match, prompting Suleymanoglu to move up again to 147.5kg, a weight he failed on his second attempt but succeeded on his third. Leonidis, the lighter man, tried the same, but lost control of the barbell
After China’s Xiao Xiangang made his final attempt at 177.5 kg, the course was cleared, the stadium – packed with enthusiastic Greek and Turkish fans – awaited the pair. In a competition like the Olympics, where ranking can be determined by as little as half a kilogram, Leonidis’ 2.5kg deficit was huge, adding to the pressure to defeat the still undefeated Sulejmanoglu. Both men opened at 180kg, with Sulejmanoglu following up at 185kg, extending his lead. Leonidis then reached his third world record of 187.5 kg, and two kilograms more than ever before, taking the lead. Sülejmanoglu matched the effort on his third attempt – his fourth world record in the space of 10 minutes – leaving Leonidis in the final race.
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He deadlifted 190kg, nearly tripled his body weight, and almost finished cleaning before collapsing. Naim Suleymanoglu won thanks to a 2.5 kg advantage during the break, becoming the first three-time gold medalist in the history of the sport. Although his dream of Olympic gold was dashed, Leonidis gave Suleimanoglu a congratulatory hug before the medals were presented. After Naim’s death in November 2017, Leonidis attended his funeral and paid his last respects to his old friend and rival.
Even the most casual weightlifting fan has probably heard of Pyrros Dimas, and for good reason, the Greek athlete is one of the most decorated weightlifters of all time. A lesser known fact, however, is how close some of his victories were. At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Dimas faced his toughest competition so far in the 85 kg category. The men Dimas would fight were vicious competitors in their own right. Georgian athlete Giorgi Asanidze recently set the 181kg deadlift world record, and Germany’s Marc Huster was European champion in the three years prior to Sydney. Although Dimas has already won two Olympic gold medals and finished second at the 1999 World Championships, it would not be easy to get to the top of the podium in Australia.
Things took a turn for the worse for him in the snatch portion of the event. Due to the disrespectful crowd – who mocked him during his attempts – and the tight clock, he missed his first two attempts.