Like all sports, weightlifting has its legends of near-mythical lifts hit in training or local/unfilmed competitions, snatches and clean & jerks rumored about but never confirmed. And the most fun rumors involve the super heavyweights, big people lifting bigger weights. The rumors are further fueled by the international nature of weightlifting, especially during the Soviet era, where giants behind the Iron Curtain were putting up numbers still yet to be matched — and, of course, this was all before the time when everyone with a cell phone could be an accomplished cinematographer.
And while video of Anatoly Pisarenko’s rumored 280kg clean or Eugene Sypko’s (confirmed) competition 216.5kg snatch have yet to see the light of day, we’ve still got plenty to work with. Below, we’ve assembled the six heaviest snatches ever caught on film. It’s a mix of training lifts, not just competition makes — and, yes, we’re including lifts off the blocks, because they’re heavy and this is fun.
Below are the heaviest snatches you can watch from the comfort of your smart phone. Let’s hope this list is only temporary, because we’d like to see some more of these numbers in competition soon.
1. Heaviest Snatch of All Time (on Film): Lasha Talakhadze, 221kg (487.2 pounds)
Georgian superheavyweight Lasha Talakhadze made this lift during training for the 2019 European Weightlifting Championships. That same training period is when he made a 267kg clean & jerk, currently the heaviest clean & jerk caught on film.
2. Heaviest Competition Snatch of All Time: Lasha Talakhadze, 220 kilograms (485 pounds)
Georgian super heavyweight athlete Lasha Talakhadze snatched this weight in 2017 for an unofficial world record, but he made it official at the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships in Anaheim with this phenomenal 220-kilogram lift. He equaled it at the 2019 World Championships. To this day, it stands as the heaviest weight ever made in international competition. Click the little arrow to see the snatch and the 257-kilo clean & jerk, which also earned him a world record total of 477 kilograms.
3. Second Heaviest Snatch in Training: Behdad Salimi, 220 kilograms (485 pounds)
Salimi made this lift while he was training for the Rio Olympics in 2016 — check out his performance in another entry below.
4. Heaviest Olympic Snatch: Behdad Salimi, 216 kilograms (476.2 pounds)
Salimi’s 216 kilograms was a world record when he made it at Rio de Janeiro and it remains the heaviest lift ever made at the Olympics. He went on to bomb on all of his 245-kilogram clean & jerk attempts and would later call his performance a “nightmare,” but that 216-kilo snatch was still the heaviest ever.
5. Heaviest Off the Blocks: Aleksey Lovchev, 220 kilograms (485 pounds)
Some see blocks as making for an easier lift, but they can have a lot of benefits, especially for emphasizing the top of the pull. The heaviest we’ve seen comes from a training video Russian athlete Aleksey Lovchev uploaded in 2014, before he went on to act in a Rocky-esque movie about an underdog weightlifter.
6. Heaviest Competition Attempt on Video: Lasha Talakhadze, 221kg
At the 2018 European Championships, Lasha made an attempt at the heaviest snatch of all time with 221 kilos. It wasn’t quite in the cards, but we’re pretty confident he’ll hit that weight before too long.
Know a massive superheavyweight (or heck, heavyweight) snatch we missed where video exists? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured image via @iwfnet and @behdadsalimi on Instagram.