For those of you who don't know yet, Germany's Matthias Steiner won the gold medal in the men's +105 kg weightlifting class with a total lift of 461 kg (best snatch and best clean and jerk). Steiner was stuck in third place after lifting 203 kg in the snatch but exploded past everyone in his last clean and jerk of 258kg on the last lift of the event. With this lift the big German edged out Russia's Evgeni Chigishev by only one kilogram! World champion Viktors Scerbatihs of Latvia took the bronze medal with total of 448kg, with Ukraine's Artem Udachyn, who lifted 442kg, missing a medal.
All that might not sound too interesting if you are not a weightlifting fan, but if you watch the contest you will be amazed at the back and forth battle between the top four competitors. Each lifter would come out and beat the last lift, taking first place. Steiner had no business completing his last clean and jerk after missing his second one, and then increasing the weight for his last lift! What courage it must have taken for him to call out the seemingly impossible number, and what courage to compete after the premature death of his wife this summer.
Steiner, "Of course this Gold is for my wife, also my friends, my German coach and all of the people who have helped me. But first it's for her. During the competition I did not think so much about her, because I had to stay in the competition. But afterwards, of course, I missed her a lot." What an incredible example of mental toughness and spirit. Steiner is truly an Olympic hero!
The next time you are too tired to train or just don't feel like it, think about Steiner. How often do you think he felt like training after his wife's passing? It is never easy to stick to a long term commitment but if you want to succeed you will have to make all kinds of sacrifices and keep plugging away no matter what the set backs.
Watching the technique of the Weightlifters was a real eye opener for me as a kettlebell lifter and powerlifter. Number one it made me feel really weak! These guys are pushing over 500 lbs over their heads with perfect technique! Kettlebell lifting is great for conditioning and building strength, as you can see a heavy barbell is the best way to develop strength. Most kettlebell lifters spend a lot of time doing cleans and snatches with their bell, so if you want to learn how to do the Olympic lifts with a barbell the transition is not to major. I think the biggest difference is that when you use a barbell, be sure to pull the elbows up as high as possible, then dip under the bar and catch it at your shoulders while dropping into a deep squat. That shoulder prevent using your back to power the bar up. With a kettlebell the lifts are quite simple as you dip a bit, thrust the hips and the bell ends up where you want it!
Watch some Olympic lifting videos and check out this site if you want to learn how to do the Olympic lifts with a barbell.