Iran #1 and #2 in weightlifting!
Iranians walked away with both the gold and the silver medals in super heavyweight weightlifting Tuesday--but neither man broke the records held by Hossain Rezazadeh, who remains the world's strongest man.
Behdad Salimi won the gold medal at the Olympics, but his total lift of 455 kilos was still 17 kilos (37 1/2 pounds) short of Rezazadeh's world record of 472 kilos.
And the silver medal went to Sajjad Anoushiravan with a total lift of 449 kilos--in a one two punch for Iran. The bronze went to a Russian weightlifter; Russians used to dominate the sport.
Salimi stands out among a crowd of weightlifters milling about. Rather than the standard physique--short and squat--Salimi, 22, comes in at basketball height, 6-foot-6 (198 centimeters). Like Rezazadeh before him, he is great with the crowds, always pausing to shake a proffered hand, write out an autograph or smile for a photo.
Weightlifting recognizes three records in each weight category--one for the snatch, one for the clean & jerk and one for the total of those two.
Two years ago, Salimi bested Rezazadeh's snatch record of 213 kilos by a single kilo. Salimi still holds that record. He was hoping to best one or both of Rezazadeh's other records at the Olympics, but did not come close. In fact he didn't come close to equaling his own record in the snatch, falling 6 kilos short.
Rezazadeh retired in 2007, then became coach of the Iranian team and in 2010 took over as president of the Iranian Weightlifting Federation. He has been in Salimi's corner ever since, pushing Salimi to set new records. "I will be greatly pleased if he sets a new record and breaks my record," Rezazadeh said before the competition Tuesday. "The name of Iran is important, not the name of Rezazadeh or Salimi."
Here is a table showing Rezazadeh's best and Salimi's and Anoushiravan's production at the Olympics this week:
Snacth C&J Total Reza. 213 263 472 Salimi 208 247 455 Anoush. 202 245 449
Note that Rezazadeh's total is not the sum of his snatch and clean & jerk records. That is because his record numbers were set at different events.
Over the years, many lifters were able to approach Rezazadeh's record in the snatch--and Salimi finally surpassed it--but his clean & jerk and total records still look unassailable.
The snatch and the clean & jerk are two methods for lifting a weight over one's head. The snatch is a single motion taking the weight from the floor to above the head. The clean & jerk is a two-stage operation in which the weight is first lifted from the floor to shoulder-height and then, in a second effort, moved above the head on extended arms.
There are eight weight divisions in weightlifting. For this year's Olympics, Iran qualified six men for four divisions and came away with four medals.
In the 105-kilo heavyweight category, Navab Nasirshelal came away with the silver medal and in the 85-kilo division Kianoush Rostami won bronze. Saeed Mohammadpur came in fifth in the 94-kilo division.
Sourab Moradi was a second Iranian in the 85-kilo competition but he did not finish.