Four years after just missing out on the medal stand in the men’s heavyweight weightlifting competition, Uzbekistan’s Ruslan Nurudinov claimed gold in impressive fashion.
Nurudinov took gold with with a combined weight lifted of 431 kilograms, which works out to just over 950 pounds, in the snatch and clean and jerk lifts to win Uzbekistan’s first-ever Olympic weightlifting medal. While Nurudinov didn’t establish a new Olympic record in regards to the total amount of weight lifted, he did break the Olympic record in the clean and jerk. On his last lift of the competition Nurudinov executed a proper clean and jerk of 237 kg, one kilogram over the record set by Belarus’ Andrei Aramnau in Beijing eight years ago.
Nurudinov won gold by 17 kilograms, with Armenia’s Simon Martirosyan taking silver at a total weight lifted of 417 kilograms. The race for silver was far closer than that for the gold, with Kazakhstan’s Aleksandr Zaichikov taking bronze with a total weight lifted of 416 kilograms. Zaichikov lifted 223 kilograms on his first clean and jerk attempt, but failed attempts at 227 kilograms in each of his final two attempts proved to be the difference between silver and bronze.
Just missing out on medals were China’s Yang Zhe (415 kg) and Uzbekistan’s Ivan Efremov (414 kg), with Efremov finishing in the same position he was in four years ago in London. Zaichkov, who finished 12th in London, is the reigning world champion in this weight class.