For too long Olympic weightlifting has been stuck in the dark ages. It’s now time to shine the light on it.
Olympic weightlifting is one of the oldest events in the competition, being present at the first ever Olympic games in 1896. Whilst there was some chopping and changes with one-hand and two-hand events, since 1926 the two events judged (the clean and jerk and the snatch) have been involved.
I’m not saying these lifts aren’t impressive and extremely hard to master with thousands of hours put in to even make it into an Olympic selection committee’s consideration. But plain and simple it is a stale event.
There is much needed change and it’s hard to see why the deadlift, which is often considered the staple event for measuring strength, has been neglected for so long. Giving the spectators a more simple lift that it replicable in their own gym provides more room for comparison and thus appreciation of how hard it is to do. Again – nothing on these former events which are clearly hard. But when someone hasn’t tried something themselves its often hard to comprehend complexity. Then when something seems so complex as with the snatch lift, interest can be lost.
It also seems beyond baffling that the squat isn’t included. One of the other traditional big lifts in the gym world and a brilliant measuring stick of strength.
In reality there should be the three core disciplines : deadlift, squat and maintain the clean and jerk to show overhead strength. The clear omission that is popular within powerlifting is the bench press. It is understandable if the IOC were wanting to keep some definition between Paralympic and Olympic strength events. As well as this, by keeping the clean and jerk you can maintain some of the history with the event if wanted.
By shifting this change, I believe that it would make the event much more accessible to young aspiring strength athletes to train and practise without the need of a coach right away. Alongside this, it will make it much more appealing to watch and gather far more interest.
I’m sure that by implementing these changes, more big name strength athletes will be attracted to the sport and also help to build new young strength athletes that can compete in multiple disciplines such as powerlifting and strongman too. I understand strongman is a much more unique discipline than traditional lifts, but you get the point. The deadlift and squat as well as overhead pressing are still massive staples in strongman.
Again, this article in no way should take away from what past and current Olympic weightlifters have done or will do but to simply improve their own exposure and help elevate the sport further.
If Olympic weightlifting is such a protected event that must stay rigid to what it has always been then why not introduce powerlifting or strongman in seperately?
If rock climbing and skateboarding can be introduced then why not this? Or would the introduction of such strength events pose a threat to the traditional event and eventually render it obsolete? Why not update and get with the times than be overtaken and forgotten.