August 28, 2004

The joy of heavy men in bulging leotards : Faster, higher, stronger. Weightlifting is the perfect Olympic sport: no messing about, no judges' errors. The men's over-105kg weightlifting does exactly what it says on the tin - men over 105kg lift weights. Heavy ones.

posted by dng to other at 04:21 PM - 6 comments

How many weightlifters have been drug-cheats this year? Seven? Nine? They should get rid of this sport entirely until it's even remotely clean. Hardly the perfect Olympic sport in its modern incarnation.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:40 PM on August 28, 2004

The answer to Weedy's question would be "nearly all of them". In weightlifting, like track and field, there are those who have been caught doping/jucing and those who haven't yet. Perhaps an overly cynical view, but it seems to be borne out during every major championship. What's the over/under on track and weighlifters stripped of medals this year?

posted by pivo at 05:09 PM on August 28, 2004

I think his point wasn't that drugs might be prevalent in weight-lifting (I'm personally of the opinion that drugs ought to be allowed, but I suppose I'm in the minority). To me, the weighlifting does two things that some, even many, of the Olympic sports do not (such as the accursed gymnastics monstrosity): First, they inspire awe at physical freaks doing things we know we couldn't do. I watch the divers, or the archers, or the scullers, and say, "Maybe I don't have the talent, reflexes, to be truly the best, but if I were motivated I could approach that with dedicated training, I could fake a close fascimile of an Olympic diver that only a trained eye could tell the difference between, I could row my heart out for the length of the course, I could become skilled with the bow. " But some of these competitors- the sprinters, the weightlifters? I surely don't imagine in my wildest dreams, with all the training and practice in the world, I could run a 9.9s 100m or build muscle and will to lift 500 pounds over my head. I suppose that is why these competitions thrill us more than any other, why the 100m is one of the singularly defining events in the Olympics. Second, there is no dispute, no question, about the accomplishment when it happens. In weightlifting, it's very simple: there is the weight, a weight no one can dispute is real, no "wind-aided" weights, no judging of whether one weight is somehow a higher degree of difficulty than another weight. There is the lifter, and he or she must lift this weight over their head. From the judges, whose role is solely to confirm what hundreds in the stands, and countless novice watchers can tell: the lifter raised the weight and held it there, with control. It is plainly evident when there are lifts that don't reach a controlled pause at the top. So yes, I understand what he means: there is a purity to weightlifting as Olympic competition, even if there isn't always a purity to their blood or urine.

posted by hincandenza at 08:06 PM on August 28, 2004

Though they do subjectively judge form of the lift. Judges can and do disqualify lifts. I would imagine there have been some controversial allowed lifts/no lifts in the history of the sport.

posted by pivo at 08:30 PM on August 28, 2004

why the 100m is one of the singularly defining events in the Olympics But only when an American wins. If a Canadian wins, then the 200m and 400m races suddenly become more important. Sorry...just a sore spot among us Canucks...

posted by grum@work at 10:32 PM on August 28, 2004

Hey lots of Olympic events have 'purity' in their respective forms. Who can jump the farthest? Who can jump the highest? Who can lift the heaviest thing? Who can run the fastest? (Wind aided, aside - in any given race the same wind is with everyone.) Who can throw the farthest? Weightlifting has that 'purity' in spades - but the rash of drug cheats hardly makes it a 'pure' competition. I absolutely believe it should be discontinued until it is clean. Inspiring awe at physical freaks may impress you Hal, but I fail to see how that makes it all the more special. These guys are like seven-footers - genetic lottery winners.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:50 PM on August 29, 2004

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