Top 10 greatest Olympics weightlifters of all time

Weightlifting is a test of the raw strength and power of an athlete.

There is no sport in the Olympics that tests the physical strength of an individual more than the sport of weightlifting. Over the course of the years, we have seen great powerhouses, Herculean feats of strength and rigour and world records broken on the grandest stage of them all.

But there are some who have gone that one step further and etched their names in Olympic folklore. As the sport awaits its latest Olympic appearance, we count down the top 10 greatest weightlifters in Olympics history.

#10 Liu Chunhong (China)

Liu Chunhong on her way to her second Gold Medal in her home games at Beijing 2008

Liu Chunhong makes it into this list as the only woman in Olympic weightlifting to win back-to-back gold medals in the same weight category. She managed to win gold medals in the 69 Kg class in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics in Athens and Beijing respectively.

She clinched the Gold in 2008 setting Olympic records in both Snatch and, Clean & Jerk with lifts of 128kg and 158kg respectively for a combined world record of 286kg.

Olympic Appearances: 2

Medals: 2 Golds

World Championships: 2 Golds

#9 Waldemar Baszanowski (Poland)

Baszanowski on top of the Olympic podium in 1964

Waldemar Baszanowski was a Polish weightlifter who competed in the 67.5 Kg class. He won gold medals in two consecutive games in the 1964 and 1968 Olympics. He won 5 World Championships and 5 Silver medals, a combined 10 medals which is more than any weightlifter in history.

In 1993, Baszanowski was inducted into the International Weightlifting Federation’s Hall of Fame thus sealing his legacy as one of the greatest weightlifters of all time.

Olympic Appearances : 2

Medals: 2 Golds

World Championships: 5 Golds, 5 Silvers

#8 Charles Vinci (USA)

Charles Vinci showing off his Olympic medal.

Charles Vinci was an American weightlifter who competed in the Bantamweight class. He won gold in the 1956 and 1960 Summer Olympics. Vinci had also won 2 gold medals in the 1955 and 1959 Pan American games.

In his career, Vinci had set 12 World Records in the bantamweight class between 1955 and 1960. He held records in Snatch, Clean & Jerk, In Press as well as in total weight lifted by any weight lifter.

Olympic Appearances : 2

Medals: 2 Golds

World Championships: 2 Silvers

#7 Zhou Lulu (China)

Zhou Lulu stands victorious alongside her fierce rival Kashirina on the podium at London 2012

The reigning strongest woman in the world, Zhou Lulu comes into the list at number 7. She achieved this feat in 2012 in a head-to-head tussle with Russian Tatiana Kashirina beating her by one kg in total lift.

The Russian had set the world record in her last attempt with a net lift of 332 Kg, only to be ousted soon after by Zhou in her final attempt as she claimed gold for China and securing the title of the strongest woman in the world in the women’s +75 kg class.

Olympic Appearances : 1

Medals: 1 Gold

World Championships: 1 Gold , 1 Silver

#6 Leonid Zhabotynsky (Soviet Union)

Zhabotynsky was a gentle giant and a record machine

Leonid Zhabotynsky was a Soviet weightlifter who set 19 world records in his illustrious career. He had also won Gold in the superheavyweight category in the 1964 and 1968 Olympic Games.

Apart from his Olympic achievements, he also won 4 world championships and 2 European championships titles over the course of his professional career

Olympic Appearances : 2

Medals: 2 Golds

World Championships: 4 Golds, 1 Bronze

#5 Paul Anderson (USA)

Paul Anderson lifting 4 fully-grown men and a weight.

Regarded as the strongest man of all time, Paul Anderson is acknowledged as the man who dramatically changed the sport of powerlifting. He became an Olympic champion in 1956, World Champion and two-time national champion within 4 years of turning pro.

The Guinness Book of World Records listed Anderson in its official release of 1985 as having backlifted 6,270 pounds (2845 kg) which became the basis of his reputation as the World’s Strongest Man. The only reason he is not ranked higher up in the list is down to the fact is that his measures have been surpassed by modern day lifters.

Olympic Appearances : 1

Medals: 1 Gold

World Championships: 1 Gold

#4 Hossein Rezazadeh (Iran)

The strongest man in the world in Athens 2004

The man who currently holds the world record in the super heavyweight class of professional weightlifting - Hossein Rezazadeh. He achieved this feat of strength in Sydney 2000 when he lifted a combined 472.5 kilos, a feat which he equalled in Athens 4 years later.

The Iranian powerhouse won 2 Olympic golds in 2000 and 2004, 4 World Championships and 5 Asian Championships over the course of his distinguished career. Over the course of time, he has earned the title of being the strongest man in the world for holding the world record for the heaviest total weight lifted by a professional weightlifter on a grand stage.

Olympic Appearances : 2

Medals: 2 Golds

World Championships: 4 Golds, 1 Bronze

#3 Naim Suleymanoglu (Turkey)

Naim Suleymanoglu at the 24th summer Olympics

Naim Suleymanoglu is a Turkish superstar weightlifter. He was the first Turk to win three consecutive Olympic Gold Medals in 1988, 1992 and 1996. He also won 7 World Championships and 2 European Championships over the course of his career.

He was twice voted in as elected member to the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame in 2000 and 2004.

Olympic Appearances: 3

Medals: 3 Golds

World Championships: 5 Golds

#2 Halil Mutlu (Turkey)

The pocket-sized dynamo posing with his gold medal at Athens 2004.

Halil Mutlu is the most decorated Turkish sportsman in history. The weightlifter has won 3 Olympic Golds (1996, 2000, 2004), 5 World Championships and 10 European Championships across 14 years (1994-2008) as a professional.

He is one of only three men in history to lift 3 times his own bodyweight. He is also only the 4th weightlifter to win three consecutive gold medals in history. He dominated his weight class in the 90s and won a combined 25 gold medals in his distinguished professional career.

Olympic Appearances : 3

Medals: 3 Golds

World Championships: 5 Golds, 2 Silvers

#1 Pyrros Dimas (Greece)

Pyrros Dimas in Athen’s 2004 won the bronze medal

Pyrros Dimas is a Greek weightlifter who had won 3 back-to-back Golds from 1992-2000 in the Olympic games. In his 4th Olympics in Athens 2004, a knee injury hurt his chances to win another gold but he still managed to win a Bronze medal.

After winning the Bronze, in his hometown, Dimas left his shoes on the weightlifting podium marking his retirement from the sport. Regarded as the greatest Greek athlete of all time Dimas earned his place in history as one of the greatest Olympic weightlifters of all time.

Olympic Appearances : 4

Medals: 3 Golds, 1 Bronze

World Championships :3 Golds , 1 Silver

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Edited by Staff Editor