Kazakhstan’s Nijat Rahimov and China’s Lyu Xiaojun were by far the two best weightlifters in the 77 kg final Wednesday evening, with the gold medal ultimately being decided by a tiebreaker. The tiebreaker: which athlete weighed less, as both managed to lift a combined weight of 379 kilograms in the snatch and clean and jerk lifts.
Rahimov took the gold medal as a result, but it should be noted that both he and Lyu established new Olympic and World records in the duel.
Rahimov’s lift of 214 kilograms, which is approximately 472 pounds, on his second attempt in the clean and jerk established new Olympic and World records. As for Lyu, his lift of 177 kilograms (approximately 390 pounds) on his third attempt in the snatch set new Olympic and world records. The difference between gold and silver for Lyu was essentially two kilograms, as he entered the competition weighing 175 kg with Rahimov weight in at 174 kg.
Kazakhstan had never won a gold medal in this event, with their only other medal of any kind in the weight class being a silver in 2004. Rahimov, who served a two-year doping ban from 2013-2015, nearly wasn’t allowed to compete as the International Weightlifting Federation attempted to ban the entire Kazakhstan team over repeated positive doping tests. But that process wasnt’ carried out in time for the start of the Olympics, thus allowing Rahimov the opportunity to compete.
Taking bronze was Mohamed Mahmoud of Egypt, giving that nation two weightlifting medalists on the day with 18-year old Sara Ahmed being the other. Armenia’s Andranik Karapetyan was in contention for a medal, but he missed out due to a severe arm injury (warning: graphic video) suffered on his second 195 kg attempt in the clean and jerk.