Weightlifters try to lift a bar, called a barbell, loaded with weight plates.
In competition they have three tries to lift the weights.
There are two weightlifting events in Olympic competition.
The snatch and the clean-and-jerk
In weightlifting events at the Olympic Games, each weightlifter must compete in two events: the snatch and the clean-and-jerk.
In the snatch, the lifter bends down and lifts the barbell from the floor to over the head in one smooth move. The lifter must hold the barbell over the head for two seconds.
In the clean-and-jerk, the lifter brings the bar up to the shoulders and then jerks the bar over the head, using the strength of the arms and legs. The legs must be brought together and the bar held over the head for two seconds. Lifters can try each lift up to three times.
If a lift goes well, more weight is added for the next try.
What weightlifters wear
Lifters typically wear a one-piece, close-fitting leotard often called a singlet. The wearing of a T-shirt underneath the singlet is optional.
The wrist are strapped and they wear special weightlifting shoes.
There are eight classes of weightlifting events. The lightest weightlifters, weighing 56 kilograms, compete in the Flyweight class. The heaviest lifters compete in the Super Heavyweight class. They weigh over 105 kilograms.
Women weightlifters are in seven classes. The lightest are 48 kilograms and the heaviest are over 75 kilograms.
History of weightlifting
In legend, Atlas, Samson and Hercules were strong men capable of lifting huge weights, and in ancient Greece, weightlifting was part of an athlete's training. Weightlifters used stone or lead weights.
Competitive weightlifting may have begun in the 18th century. An International Weightlifting Federation was founded in Paris in 1920.
Olympic weightlifting for men was an event at the Games in 1896
Women weightlifters competed for the first time in the 2000 Olympic games