There are two weightlifting events in Olympic competition and each weightlifter must compete in the two events: the snatch and the clean-and-jerk.

 The barbell must be held above the head for two seconds. ©Getty

The barbell must be held above the head for two seconds. ©Getty

 

The Snatch

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.

If a lift goes well, another weight is added for the next lift.

 

The Clean-and-Jerk

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.

 Start

Start

 Clean

Clean

 Jerk

Jerk

If a lift goes well, more weight is added for the next try.

 

 Weightlifters rub their hands with chalk to grip the bar without slipping. ©Getty

Weightlifters rub their hands with chalk to grip the bar without slipping. ©Getty

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.

 

 Weightlifters, like all athletes and sportspeople, spend many hours in training. ©Getty

Weightlifters, like all athletes and sportspeople, spend many hours in training. ©Getty

Weight classes

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.

 According to legend, Atlas was a giant who held the weight of the world on his shoulders © Getty Images

According to legend, Atlas was a giant who held the weight of the world on his shoulders © Getty Images

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

Go here for more information and video about this Olympic sport

http://www.olympic.org/weightlifting