You probably don’t care about every sport in the Olympics, and frankly, neither do we. Dressage? Yeah, right. Some events, however, are worth putting on your radar, if not for the sports themselves then for some of the athletes competing. The following pages are a guide designed specifically for you, the Muscle & Fitness reader, with your interests in mind, complete with sports to watch, athletes to look out for, and, of course, facts and stats to impress your friends at the gym.
Saturday, July 28–Tuesday, Aug. 7
The goal in Olympic weightlifting is simple: Lift more weight than anyone else. Male competitors are divided into eight weight classes, and athletes in each class compete in two events, the snatch and the clean and jerk. it’s a point-based system, and competitors are allowed three attempts at each lift with the best counting toward their total score. if two athletes tie for the same weight, the one with the lower body weight wins. if both competitors weigh the same amount, the athlete who lifted the weight first wins.
Good to Know:
“No lift” is called when at least two out of three referees deem a lift unsuccessful. One of the most common illegal moves during the clean and jerk is the “press-out.” This is when a lifter—struggling to lock his arms out above his head—lowers the weight slightly and then uses the “bounce” to push the weight all the the way up.
At the Athens 2004 Games, Hossein Rezazadeh of the Islamic Republic of Iran clean-and-jerked 263.5 kilograms (580 pounds) for the gold medal.
Munich 1972 was the last Olympic Games to have three lifts. The clean and press— which required the competitor to clean the bar up to his shoulders, wait two seconds for referee approval, and then press the weight overhead using just his arms—was removed when it became too difficult for referees to judge proper technique.
Keep an Eye Out for:
Kendrick Farris. The U.S. used to be a major force in the sport of Olympic weightlifting, but interest has flagged in the past few decades and now the medalists are coming from overseas. Farris could help to turn the tide. At 26 years old and less than 190 pounds, he’s totaled 362kg (798.1 pounds) in the snatch and clean and jerk, and hopes to set a clean and- jerk world record in London. Farris had already set two American records at the Beijing 2008 Games, where he placed eighth.