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Learn More About Weightlifting

New to Sports Guide/Terms to Know: Weightlifting

What is the history of weightlifting?

Weightlifting as a competition has existed since the dawn of time as a way to compare strength and ability. Weightlifting was practiced in ancient Egypt and ancient Greek as a way to measure ability. Continuing into the 19th century, it became an international sport and was featured in the 1896 Athens Olympic Games.

In the 1900s, weightlifting became a popular school sport and teams were created in schools across the globe. In the late 1900s, weightlifting became a common recreational exercise practice to help shape and tone the body. Today, weightlifting is recognized as an ideal way to gain muscle, strength, and improve general health and wellbeing.

Weightlifting at the Olympic Games

Weightlifting was introduced in the 1986 Olympics, where Austria, Germany, and France dominated the sport. Since its introduction, weightlifting has been present at 23 of the Olympic Games. In the 1950s, the Soviet Union took over the men’s sport and remained the top competitors until the 1990s, when China, Turkey, Greece, and Iran rose to the lead. Since the start of the women’s weightlifting events in the 2000 Sydney Games, China has remained the most successful.

What are the current Olympic weightlifting classes?

The current Olympic weightlifting classes are listed below.


  • +109kg men

  • 109kg men

  • 96kg men

  • 81kg men

  • 73kg men

  • 67kg men

  • 61kg men


  • +87kg women

  • 87kg women

  • 76kg women

  • 64kg women

  • 59kg women

  • 55kg women

  • 49kg women

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