Lasha Talakhadze Wins Gold, Behdad Salimi Bombs Out After World Record Snatch

The final weightlifting session of the 2016 Rio Olympics did not disappoint. The weight class has a new world record — matching the all-time record set before weight class changes in the 1990s — and a new Olympic Champion. Twenty-two year old Lasha Talakhadze takes the gold medal home to Georgia — along with a new World Record in the total — and his countryman Irakli Turmanidze takes the bronze. Gor Minasyan of Armenia takes silver at just 21 years old.

The most exciting portion of the competition came in the snatch, with three lifters hitting 210 kilograms or over. Talakhadze lifted 215kg in the snatch, temporarily setting a new world record. But defending champion Behdad Salimi of Iran — who previously held the record at 214kg — came out and snatched 216kg to retake his mark and end that portion of the competition. 

The mark matches that of Bulgaria’s Antonio Krastev, who set his record at the 1987 World Weightlifting Championships. Weight class restructuring reset the records twice in the following decade.

However, Salimi was unable to complete a clean & jerk after having lifts overturned by the judges and jury, and the competition turned into a runaway victory for Talakhadze.

The final men’s podium in the 105+kg class is as follows.

1. Lasha Talakhadze (Georgia)
2. Gor Minasyan (Armenia)
3. Irakli Turmanidze (Georgia)

Talakhadze had the gold sealed after his first two clean & jerks, but he came out for a final lift at 258kg to set a new world record in the total (473kg). Aleksey Lovchev (Russia) had lifted a combined 475kg at last year’s Weightlifting World Championships in Houston, but that was overturned after he tested positive for a banned substance. Now, the record belongs to the young Georgian as he beat the top mark set by Iran’s Hossein Rezazadeh. Rezazadeh still holds the active superheavyweight record in the clean & jerk.

Talakhadze’s teammate Turmanidze made all six lifts to finish in third overall.

Brazilian superheavyweight Fernando Saraiva Reis finished in 5th in front of a hometown crowd, the fans erupting after every made lift.

With three world records and a new champion, it was an incredibly exciting session to end a fantastic week and a half of lifting in Rio.