Karnam Malleswari and Mirabai Chanu are the only Indians to win a medal at the Olympics.

Weightlifting has featured in the Olympics since the 1896 Athens Olympics but did not feature in the 1900,1908, and 1912 editions. Apart from these Weightlifting has featured in all the other editions. Karnam Malleswari and Mirabai Chanu are the only Indians to win a medal at the Olympics.

1. First Women’s participation

Weighlifting has featured in the Olympics since 1896 but women were first allowed to participate only in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Tara Nott from the United States became the first female weightlifter to win a gold medal at the Olympics in the 48kg weight category.

2. Süleymanoğlu – 46 records

Süleymanoğlu the Bulgarian-born Turkish is the first and only weightlifter to have snatched 2.5 times his body weight and also is the second of only seven lifters to date to clean and jerk three times his body weight. The Turkish has created 46 world records.

Turkey’s government had to pay Bulgaria 1.25 million US Dollars to represent them at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Overall Sulemanoglou has won three Olympic gold medals.

3. First transgender athlete

In the weightlifting competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard became the first open transgender athlete born male to compete in a female event at the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, Hubbard could not finish by not registering a score in the snatch section.

Laurel Hubbard has won two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games along with winning multiple medals at the Pacific Games and the World Championships.

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4. One-hand lift

In the 1896 Athens Olympics, the events were the one-hand lift and the two-hand lift and in the 1904 edition, the events were Two hand lift and the all-around dumbbell. The one-hand lift was only removed from the 1928 Olympics and since the events have taken place with two-hand lifts.

5. Ibragim Samadov’s medal protest

Ibragim Samadov, who represented the Unified Team at the 1992 Olympics weightlifting, finished in equal first in the 82.5 kg division but was relegated to 3rd on a countback due to him being 0.05 kg heavier. During the medal ceremony, Samadov refused to lean forward to accept his medal, instead taking it in his hand, before he dropped it to the podium and walked away. This led to International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) disqualifying Samadov and banning him for the rest of his life.

6. Youngest Indian NR holder

Deepak Lather from Haryana became the youngest Indian to hold an NR in the 62kg weight category at the age of 15. The youngster has won a gold and silver medal each at the Commonwealth Championships.

7. First Indian to win an international event

Ekambaram Karunakaran from Tamil Nadu was the first Indian weightlifter to win a gold medal in an international event in 1978. He won the gold medal at the 1978 Montreal Commonwealth Games. 

8. Indian lifter with most medals at World Championships

Kunjarani Devi from Manipur holds the record for winning the most number medals at the World Championships. She won a total of seven silver medals at the World Championships and finished credible fourth at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

9. India never held World Championships

India has never hosted the World Weighlifting Championships which has been played since 1891 for men and since 1991 combined for both men and women.

10. Only Indian to finish in the top 10 at Olympics

Only one Indian man has managed to finish in the top 10 at the Olympics in weightlifting. Sathish Sivalingam finished 10th at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 77kg weight category after Nijat Rahimov from Kazakhstan was stripped of his gold medal in 2022.

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