15 June 2021

London 2012: Bluffer’s guide to weightlifting

July 25, 2012
London 2012: Bluffer's guide to weightlifting

Weightlifting is the oldest and most basic form of physical competition. Athletes will have to show a great deal of strength and endurance to be successful.

Venue: Excel

Date: July 28 – August 3

Jargon buster

Hooking: A grip technique where the last joint of the thumb is covered by the other fingers of the same hand.

Press out: the lifter holds the bar above their head with bent elbows then ‘presses them out’ to straighten them, this move is illegal.

No lift: at least two of the referees judge the lift to be unsuccessful.

Squat: the athlete drops while bending their legs with the feet to either side.

Basic rules

104 women will be competing this summer, competitors are required to perform two types of lift, the ‘clean and jerk’ and the ‘snatch’.

The ‘clean and jerk’ move involves the athlete lifting the barbell explosively to their chest and then raising it above their head. The ‘snatch’ moves involves the barbell being lifted from the floor to over the head in one continuous movement.

The competition starts with each athlete naming the weight they will start on, with the lowest going first.

Each lifter has three attempts at each weight and the weight on the bar always goes up until there is one woman standing. In a tie, the lifter with the lowest body weight is the winner.

A lift is counted as an attempt as soon as the barbell rises above the knee and it is only successful if it is above the athletes head with locked arms and straight legs.

Woman to watch

18-year-old Zoe Smith (pictured) is known as ‘the strongest schoolgirl in Britain’. After her bronze medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games she is tipped as a medal hopeful for GB.

Who’s the gold medal favourite?

If Chen Yanqing competes at London 2012 she will be a favourite to win gold, after her previous gold medals in the 58kg class at both Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

Who to follow on twitter…




Weightlifting Olympic fact

The bodyweights of competitors are used to break ties – the lifter who weighs less wins.

Get to know the girls

BBC Three followed GB teammates Zoe Smith, Hannah Powell and Helen Jewell as they looked to secure one of the two female spots on the British weightlifting squad. The documentary had the Sportsister team glued to the box – well worth a watch! You can catch it on iPlayer until August 2… www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer

The Women’s Sports Magazine

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