Weightlifting is one of the oldest competitive sports, being one of the seven sports that made up the programme of the 1st modern Olympic Games in 1896.
Male weightlifting events have been held at all 22 subsequent Olympic Games, with a women’s programme being introduced at the Sydney 2000 Games.
Over the last century the power nations of the sport have evolved through different cycles. On the men’s side the 1950s dominance of the old USSR has now been replaced by Turkey, China and the old Soviet states, while on the women’s side China has always dominated.
Over the last two-three years there has been a slowing down and even stagnation of records and winning performances, which may reflect the impact of enhanced anti-doping measures.
Against this background Great Britain as had limited success on the World scene, winning a total of 13 female and 19 male medals at World Championships and Olympic Games (the top medal winning nations are currently China and Russia). Of the seven weightlifting Olympic medals won by GB the last was in 1984, a bronze medal in the men’s 90kg division.
At a European and Commonwealth level GB athletes have had more recent success, winning two medals at the 2006 Commonwealths and one at both the 2005 and 2006 European Championships.
There are currently 15 medal classes at the Olympic Games, across eight male and seven female weight categories.
British Weight Lifting was formed in 1910 (originally called The British Weightlifters Association BWLA), is the recognised governing body for Weightlifting and Disability Powerlifting in the United Kingdom. Its purpose is to bring together all (amateur) Weightlifters into a united self-governing body.
London being awarded the 2012 Olympic Games presents British Weight Lifting a once in lifetime opportunity to return to being a performance force, whereby British athletes are competitive at World level. However this requires all parties to work with each other to share the vision and ensure there is a lasting legacy from London 2012.