Weightlifting has been an Olympic sport since the first modern games in Athens in 1896. Athletes compete to see who can lift the heaviest weights (in the form of a metal bar with heavy weights on each end). Both men and women compete, and there are several weight divisions for each gender.
Olympic weightlifting has two events:
- Snatch, where the bar must be lifted above the head in one continuous motion.
- Clean and jerk, where the bar is first lifted to just beneath the chin, and then lifted above the head after a short pause.
Participants compete in both disciplines (with the weights being increased in a similar way to the raising of the bar in a high jump competition), and add their best scores in each. The man or woman with the highest combined total is the winner.
The world record for weightlifting in the men's super-heavyweight division is 472kg (over 1000lb), set at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000. This is about as heavy as two fully-grown male lions.
When performed by women, it is a joke sport.