Olympics 2012: a beginner’s guide to weightlifting

Learn all about the disciplines, thrusts, tactics and mind games adopted by the hefty competitors

For a sport that involves thrusting up to three times body weight over the head, it is surprisingly psychological. If competitors don’t believe they can lift a weight, they haven’t a prayer. Meanwhile, the fact that lifters are restricted to three attempts in each discipline (snatch, in which the bar is raised in one movement, and clean-and-jerk, where they do it in two) allows them to play fearsome mind games with each other by selecting starting weights designed to intimidate. Sometimes this approach backfires — the over-ambitious can fail to register a single lift.


Watch the competitors psyching themselves up — tactics vary from the use of smelling salts to pummelling themselves with their fists. Johnny Acton


Men’s 105kg: Coverage of the Group B final begins at 3:30pm BBC Olympics 14, Group A final begins at 7pm BBC Olympics 4