While every Olympic sport is a feat of human skill and determination, it's particularly hard not to gawp at weightlifting, as the world's strongest athletes lift barbell's that many of us would struggle to nudge.


Although a lack of funding has made this a tricky cycle for Team GB, they have managed to enlist four qualifying athletes for the Olympics 2020 in Tokyo in the hopes of securing our first weightlifting medal in almost four decades.

Among those representing Great Britain is the current European Champion, so there's reason to be optimistic about our chances this year.

Read on for all your essential details including Team GB athletes, rules, records and a full list of events.

RadioTimes.com brings you up to speed with everything you need to know about weightlifting at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in the summer of 2021. Plus check out what's on with our guide to the Olympics on TV today.

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When is weightlifting at the Olympics?

Weightlifting runs from Saturday 24th July until Wednesday 28th July before taking a short break and coming back from Saturday 31st July until Wednesday 4th August.

Medal finals will take place on every single day of the contest, with competitors' weight categories increasing as the Games progress.

Check out our guide on how to watch Olympics 2020 or see Olympics on TV today for more details, timings, and exclusive expert analysis from some of the biggest names in world sport over the coming weeks.

Sir Chris Hoy, Beth Tweddle, Rebecca Adlington, Matthew Pinsent and Dame Jess Ennis-Hill are among the stars we have to being their esteemed opinions, so don't miss what they have to say.

Find out how you can watch the Tokyo 2020 Olympics closing ceremony.

When did weightlifting become an Olympic sport?

Weightlifting was included at the inaugural modern Olympic Games event, held in Athens in 1896, where competitors were given the choice of testing their strength with a one-hand lift or a two-hand lift.

However, the sport was temporarily dropped from the line-up after that point, not returning to the world stage until 1920's Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium.

Weightlifting has been included in every subsequent Olympics but it would be a full 80 years until women's weightlifting was added to the roster at Sydney 2000.

Which Team GB weightlifting athletes are in Tokyo?

Four weightlifters have been selected to represent Team GB at Tokyo 2020, hoping to win the team its first Olympic medals since Los Angeles 1984.

Zoe Smith will be jetting out to this year's Olympics, having secured a top 10 finish at London 2012 and numerous other medals over the past decade, having been competing in the sport from the age of just 16.

Joining her is Emily Campbell, who won three gold medals at the European Championships this year, following on from her bronze at 2018's Commonwealth Games.

Another bright star from 2021's European Championships was Sarah Davies, who won three silver medals and will also be competing in Tokyo this summer.

One week after this trio was announced, Team GB revealed a fourth athlete would be added to their weightlifting line-up: Emily Muskett.

She's another top name to look out for after becoming Great Britain's first European Champion in 26 years back in April, meaning hopes are high for Team GB's success at the Games.

Mark England, Team GB Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, said in a statement: "Today’s announcement is a significant moment for these athletes, their sport and for the British Olympic Association with this being the biggest group of female weightlifters to represent Team GB at an Olympic Games.

"We are anticipating that we’ll be taking more female than male athletes to Tokyo for the first time ever, and this group’s selection is another step towards achieving this historic goal."

What are the rules of Olympic weightlifting?

The rules of modern weightlifting at the Olympic games focus primarily on two techniques, known as the "snatch" and the "clean and jerk".

The snatch is a term used to describe when an athlete picks up the barbell and lifts it above their head in one fluid motion.

On the other hand, the clean and jerk has more stages, beginning with the competitor picking up the barbell and lifting it up to their chest, pausing for a moment, before extending their arms until the elbows are straight and holding the pose until a buzzer sounds.

Weightlifters will have three attempts at both the snatch and the clean and jerk, with their strongest efforts in each being added together to create an overall weight lifted for that event.

In a tie, the gold will be awarded to the athlete with the lightest bodyweight, or if their weight class is the same, to the competitor who took the fewest attempts.

Olympic weightlifting records

Retired Greek weightlifter Pyrros Dimas has enjoyed the most Olympic success in the sport, with three gold medals and a bronze to his name in total.

In the women's competition, the record is currently held jointly by China's Chen Yanqing and South Korea's Hsu Shu-Ching, who have won two golds each.

The heaviest weight lifted in a clean and jerk at the Olympics was achieved by Iran's Hossein Rezazadeh at Athens 2004, who lifted a whopping 263kg.

The record for a snatch is 216kg, achieved by fellow Iranian weightlifter Behdad Salimi Kordasiabi at Rio 2016.

Among female weightlifters, the clean and jerk record is held by China's Zhou Lulu (187kg, London 2012), while the snatch record goes to Russia's Tatiana Kashirina (151kg, London 2012).

Tokyo 2020 Weightlifting events


  • 61kg
  • 67kg
  • 73kg
  • 81kg
  • 96kg
  • 109kg
  • 109kg+


  • 49kg
  • 55kg
  • 59kg
  • 64kg
  • 76kg
  • 87kg
  • 87kg+

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