What a Cleaner World Championships Mean for Weightlifting:
The Olympic Games are held every four years in different countries around the world. These competitions are organized by various international organizations such as the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). The IWF was founded in 1968 and it’s goal is to promote and develop weightlifting as a sport with all its sports disciplines. The first Olympics were held in Mexico City, but they have been held in several other cities since then.
The IWF has created rules and regulations which are followed by all participating countries.
In order to participate in the Olympics, athletes must meet certain requirements including age limits, body mass index (BMI), height and weight limits. Athletes compete under their national teams or individually if they’re not from one of the six qualifying nations. There are two categories of medals awarded at each event: gold and silver. Gold medals are given out to the best lifters in each category.
Silver medals go to the top three lifters in each category.
Weightlifters compete against each other in five events: snatch, clean & jerk, front squat, and double back squat. Each event has a specific weight class limit for men and women. For example, the heaviest male competition weight is 94 kilograms (207 pounds) while female competitors weigh 70 kilograms (154 pounds). There are several rules that govern how athletes perform each lift.
Sitting between the legs, lifters must lift the weight from the platform, rotate it vertically and position it over their heads before dropping down to a seated position and standing back up. The athlete’s elbow must be locked out at the top of the movement. A press out disqualifies the attempt, but lifters can re-attempt after a failed or missed attempt.
When the athlete completes the lift, they must return the weight to the platform and wait for the judge’s signal. The barbell must be returned to the platform with control; dropping or banging the weight on the platform can cause a red light, stopping the attempt.
The lifter kneels on a padded mat in front of a loaded barbell. The lifter’s upper body is positioned perpendicular to the weights. After getting into position and signaling to the judge, the lifter grabs the bar with an overhand grip that’s just beyond shoulder-width and takes a big breath before pulling the weights off the stand. The lifter pulls down on the bar to bring it down to their upper chest and takes another big breath before pushing their body upwards and contacting the bench.
Lifters start with the barbell on the floor and grip it with hands at slightly less than shoulder width. Keeping as straight as possible, the lifter bends at the hip and knees and slowly moves the bar toward the legs. At the lowest point of this movement, the lifters hands are in line with their chin. After a brief pause, lifters push their feet hard into the floor and drive their hips forward to propel the bar moving toward the standing position.
At the top of the movement, the bar is at belt height.
Weightlifters are judged on their ability to lift a predetermined amount of weight in three separate lifts: snatch, clean and jerk and the total of the highest of each. Each judge gives an electronic pulse after each successful lift; a red light signals that the attempt has failed.
Weightlifters use chalk to keep their hands from deteriorating under the pressure of holding heavy barbells.
At the beginning of each weight class, athletes have an opportunity to lift what’s known as a “Challenge Weight.” Only the winner of the challenge weight gets to go on and compete for an Olympic Medal.
Weightlifters competing at the highest level are all in incredible physical condition. Some athletes weigh-in just hours before their event and then go on to lift some of the heaviest weights imaginable.
Grip strength is crucial when lifting heavy barbells. Chalk is used by weightlifters to keep a strong grip on the bar.
Weightlifters are ranked based on their Total Points, which is the sum of: their best snatch, their best clean and jerk and their best front squat.
Olympic weightlifting has been a part of the modern Olympic Games since its inaugural 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens.
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