After setting the world record in the snatch portion of the competition with a lift of 216 kilograms, Iran’s Behdad Salimi appeared to be one of the favorites to win the super heavyweight competition Tuesday night. But to focus on Salimi would be to ignore the fact that the reigning world champion was also in the mix, and in the end it was he who would take gold.
Georgia’s Lasha Talakhadze, who won last year’s Weightlifting World Championships, took gold with an overall weight lifted of 473 kilograms (just under 1,043 pounds). Talakhadze reached that mark on his final clean and jerk lift of 258 kilograms, breaking the world record set by Iran’s Rezah Zadeh in Beijing eight years ago by a single kilogram. As for Salimi, he failed to register a clean lift in three attempts at 245 kilograms in the clean and jerk, thus ending his competition.
Taking silver was Gor Minasyan of Armenia with a total weight lifted of 451 kilograms, with Georgia’s Irakli Turmanidze taking bronze with a total weight lifted of 448 kilograms. Prior to tonight, Georgia had a total of two Olympic weightlifting medals in their history as an independent nation.
With Minasyan taking silver, two of the three medalists at last year’s Worlds reached the medal stand. The exception was Estonia’s Mart Seim, who after finishing second at the Worlds finished seventh Tuesday night. Seim’s final clean and jerk attempt of the night, at 255 kilograms, would not have been enough to get him onto the medal stand.