Record lift by Iranian super heavyweight
Iranian weightlifter Hossein Rezazadeh broke two world records to take gold in the men's Olympic superheavyweight division on Tuesday and bring Russia's four-decade domination of the event to an end.
Rezazadeh shattered his own world snatch record of 206 kg with a stunning lift of 212.5 kg and then made a personal best of 260 kg in the clean and jerk section for an overall world record of 472.5 kg.
His gold in the over-105 kg category was Iran's second in weightlifting in as many days following the success of compatriot Hossein Tavakoli in the 105 kg event on Monday.
"I thank God and the Iranian people for my victory," said the 22-year-old, who lifted his arms and called out in prayer to "Imam Ali" before each of his six lifts.
Germany's Ronny Weller had to settle for silver for the second Olympics running despite setting world snatch and overall records of his own only to see them eclipsed within minutes by the Iranian.
"The Iranians seem to keep coming out of nowhere. It's like a Spielberg movie," an exasperated Weller said. "I broke two world records and lifted 467.5 kg and I gave it all I had."
Armenia's Ashot Danielyan claimed bronze while Russian defending Olympic champion Andrei Chemerkin finished fourth after failing with an audacious attempt to take gold with a final lift of 272.5 kg.
Rezazadeh's success broke Russia's 44-year-old stranglehold on the marquee event of the Olympic weightlifting programme.
The Soviets and Russians had won it at every Olympics since 1956 apart from 1984 when they boycotted the Los Angeles Games.
That domination was brought to an end with a curiously Australian symmetry at the Sydney Convention Centre.
Australia's Dean Lukin won the 1984 title and the last time the Soviets failed to win an Olympic superheavyweight contest before that was in Melbourne 44 years ago.
Danielyan started the world-record ball rolling with a lift of 207.5 kg in the snatch but it lasted only minutes as Weller rammed 210 kg on to the bar and heaved it over his head with a jubilant scream.
Rezazadeh then upped the record with his awesome lift of 212.5 kg, tottering forward on the platform before steadying himself and locking his arms.
Weller broke his own overall world record with a jerk of 257.5 kg but again the Iranian trumped him with a monumental lift of 260 kg -- about the weight of three refrigerators.
The former Asian junior champion blew a kiss to the spectators in celebration before kneeling and kissing the platform in prayer.
Chemerkin now needed to clean and jerk 272.5 kg to win gold -- a full 12.5 kg heavier than his own personal best from the Atlanta Olympics.
The huge Russian policeman never looked capable of making it, dropping the bar without getting it to his waist and staggering backwards in a cloud of chalk dust.
Iran's double success here gives them their first gold medals in weightlifting since the Mexico Olympics of 1968.
"I was up against very good opponents in Weller and the Armenian," Rezazadeh said. "Last year I broke the world record in Athens and tonight I felt I would have to do the same to take gold."
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