The Olympics is coming soon in Tokyo, and although relatively few people aspire to be an Olympic Weightlifting competitor, few can deny the appeal of watching a 152-pound man lifting as much as 390 pounds.

Or what about the heavyweights? Is there anything more admirable than watching a 220-pound man lifting 503 pounds?

Just watching the bar bend and the weightlifter grunt and then move, sometimes to great heights, sometimes to abject failure as Matthias Steiner had happen in the 2012 Olympic games in London when tried to lift 432 pounds and his legs buckled and fell backward with the weight coming crashing down on his neck and his head.

Yes, Olympic Weightlifting is a terrific sport to watch and unlike practically any other sport, the majority of the people don’t care whether the Olympian is from the United States, China, Iran, or North Korea.

To hell with medals. Whether they are a bantamweight or a heavyweight, we just want to see that competitor lift, cajole and even pray that the weight goes up.

And when it comes to the heavyweights, who cares that they haven’t seen the better part of six-pack abs for decades or that they eat 6,000 or more calories per day.

Deep down inside, all of us at one time or another can envision lifting that weight-laden bar high.

And on top of this, it isn’t only the men who are competing. Women have been successfully competing in Olympic Weightlifting since 2000. So everyone has a chance to cheer. You should follow a good olympic weightlifting program if you want success with this sport.

So how does Olympic Weightlifting work?

Olympic Weightlifters compete in two events but they can receive gold medals only for a combination of weight scores.

The two events they lift individually are the snatch and the clean and jerk.

Up until 2002, they provided medals for each event, but since 2002 they have begun
issuing medals only for the combined weight of the two events.

For those who are keeping score at home for medals, this is important to understand because a weight lifter could acquire a new world record in the snatch for example, but if he or she fails to complete a successful lift in the clean and jerk, they are scored as a scratch. They are out of the medal competition.

Weightlifters are separated by weight categories, from 134 to over 240 pounds for men and 108 to over 191 pounds for women.

Each competitor gets three tries to lift a weight for the snatch and three tries to lift the clean and jerk.

Assuming they do not scratch in either event, their combined weight of the two events puts them in medal competition or not.

Competitors in both events have 1 minute to address the bar and then lift it. Once the bar is off the ground, the bar must continue in an upward motion.

The two olympic weightlifting events

For the amateur, it’s sometimes difficult to understand what takes place in each individual event.

First Olympic Weightlifters attempt a snatch.

For the snatch, you have a very wide stance and lift the barbell up in one smooth move.
It’s a finesse move, and once you lifted the barbell over your head, you finish by standing up.

The Clean and Jerk however is a power move. Done in two steps with a narrower arm spread, first, the bar is sort of deadlifted about the crotch, then you bend down, power the bar up and lift it overhead in the second stage of the lift.

And there you go. Just a couple of minutes of study to become a semi-expert at Olympic Weightlifting.

Now your ready to enjoy one of the most exciting sports in the summer Olympics.