Photo Gallery

Sport Overview

An original Olympic Games sport, weightlifting combines precise technique with brute force as men (in eight weight classes) and women (in seven weight classes) compete to lift the most weight in two types of lifts. The snatch is a nerve-racking blink of an eye that takes the heavily weighted bar above the head in a single motion. The clean and jerk involves two distinct motions — one to bring the bar to rest at shoulder height, the next to push the weight to a stable position above the head.

Contested in a theatre-like setting with the athletes performing on stage, the drama escalates with the increasing weights of each round of lifts and the lifters strain, often right to their physical limits, to achieve clean lifts and win gold.

Canadian Olympian Christine Girard lifted to a gold-medal finish at the Guadalajara 2011 Pan Am Games, on her way to Olympic bronze in London in 2012. She also picked up a silver medal at the 2007 Pan Am Games in Rio.


On the Olympic program since the first modern Games in 1896, weightlifting dates back to long before that time when it was practiced by ancient Egyptian and Greek societies as a means to measure strength and power. It developed as a sport in the 19th century.

How it works

Weightlifters compete against other athletes within their weight class, with the objective of lifting the most weight. The strongest competitors are able to lift more than three times their body weight.

There are two types of lifts: the snatch, in which the bar is lifted above the head in one movement, and the clean and jerk in which the bar is first brought to the shoulders before being jerked above the head. Each lifter gets three attempts at each lift.


The magnesium carbonate powder used on weightlifters’ hands to improve their grip and reduce slippage on the bar.

No lift
A lift that is judged unsuccessful by at least two of the three referees.

Additional Information

Additional Information