What is Weightlifting?
Weightlifting is an Olympic sport that consists of two events. The first event is a single lift called the snatch where competitors lift a barbell from the floor to over their heads in one quick movement.
The second event is the clean & jerk. This two phase lift starts with the athlete lifting the bar from the floor to their chest (the clean), and then from their chest to over head (the jerk).
Weightlifting was part of the first modern Olympic games in 1896. The sport would change format many times over the next few decades, utilizing several different types of implements and ways of lifting them, until standardized weight classes and events were settled on in the 1930s. From then the sport remained mostly unchanged until 1972. Up until that point, Weightlifting had been a triathlon, consisting of the snatch, the clean & jerk and the clean & press. Eventually the clean & press was eliminated for two reasons, first it was become more difficult to judge as the weights being lifted became heavier, and it was redundant already having the very similar clean & jerk as part of the competition.
Like many other sports, Weightlifting was only contested by men at its inception. It wasn't until 1987 the first World Championships were held for women. It would be another 13 years before women were allowed to lift in the Olympic Games. Since 2000, there has been an explosion in the growth of women's Weightlifting, proving that not only are women interested in the sport, but they are capable competitors
While many people might think Weightlifting is a sport for musclebound meatheads, it's truly a sport of athleticism, requiring athletes to be of course be strong, but also fast, flexible, durable and agile. Unlike Bodybuilding, simply having big muscles isn't going to win you any medals. The "quick lifts" as they're sometimes called are truly a test of one's skill and precision as much as anything. It's also important to remember that Weightlifting is divided into 10 weight classes for both men and women. The smallest of them are 45kg(99lbs) ranging all the way up to giants near the 400lb mark, and everything in between. That means Weightlifters come in all different shapes, sizes and physiques depending on their weight class.
That leaves us with the question: Who is Weightlifting for? The answer to that is: Anybody! Although certain athletes from other sports tend to excel in Weightlifting (like gymnasts, hockey players, soccer players, etc...) No one "sits the bench" in Weightlifting. Competitive Weightlifting can also make excellent cross-training for team sport athletes.
The training of a Weightlifter will challenge you both physically, and mentally, and with it being an individual sport, the work to result ratio is nearly 1:1, making it one of the most personally rewarding and fulfilling pursuits in the entire world of athletics.