The History of Weightlifting

Weightlifting is a sport with a long history that spans over three centuries, the 19th, 20th and 21st century. In 1896 weightlifting appeared in the first Olympic Games, however in the next Olympic Games in 1900 it was left out. In 1905 an international organization that governs weightlifting, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), is formed. Then in 1920 the Olympic Committee declared weightlifting officially a part of the Olympic Games. In the beginning there were not explicit weight divisions and the lifts consisted of one-handed and two-handed lifts. The one-handed lifts were with dumbbells and consisted of nine different lifts that competitors could compete in. In 1928 the cutting of the one-handed lifts happened and the lifts became the snatch, clean and jerk, and the press. However, the press had a short-life and the removal of the press in 1976 happened due to controversies about how to properly judge it. In the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games women participated in weightlifting in the Olympic Games for the very first time.


The goal of a weightlifting competition is to lift the most weight from the sum of the maximum of two lifts, the snatch and the clean and jerk. An athlete must pick a weight class to compete in and only one weight class to compete in. There are eight weight classes for men and eight weight classes for women.

Weight Classes
56 kg
48 kg
62 kg
53 kg
69 kg
58 kg
77 kg
63 kg
85 kg
69 kg
94 kg
75 kg
105 kg
90 kg
105+ kg
90+ kg

The first lift attempted is the snatch, followed by the second lift, the clean and jerk. For each lift an athlete has three attempts. Each attempt has a time limit of 60 seconds, 1 minute. If an athlete happens to follow themselves they are allowed two minutes instead of 60 seconds. Whether an attempt is succesful depends on whether two out of three judges declare it succesful.If an athlete successfully completes a lift the next attempt's weight will be at least 1 kg greater than the weight they attempted before. Then after the six attempts are all completed, three for the snatch and three for the clean and jerk, the largest weight lifted in the snatch and the largest weight lifted in the clean and jerk are added together to get the total weight. The athlete with the highest total wins their weight class. If there is a tie between two athletes in weight total the athlete with the lower bodyweight wins. For a complete and thorough explanation of the rules please see the IWF Technical and Competition Rules and Regulations.