Oscar Figueroa knows about struggle — it took him four appearances at the Olympic Games to finally win a gold medal, which he did in Rio at age 33 when he totaled 318 kilograms (701 pounds) in the 62kg category. He completed a snatch of 142kg (313lb) and a clean & jerk of 176kg (388lb).
Tearfully, he took off his shoes after his lift, signifying that after winning the sport’s highest honor, he was officially retiring.
That is, until he quietly posted this training clip to his Instagram yesterday.
“Tokyo 2020, I hope,” reads the caption.
As far as we know, Figueroa hasn’t released any more information regarding this goal, but he might not be the only (roughly) 37-year-old weightlifter in Tokyo — the 77kg Lu Xiaojun has also hinted that he hopes to return to the Olympics.
It’s possible that Figueroa was motivated to return to the sport after The Olympic Channel premiered their documentary about Figueroa this week, entitled “Against All Odds.”
That’s the trailer for the documentary, but you can watch the full eight and a half minutes of the film over on the Olympic Channel’s website here. (Note that you may have to log in with your Facebook or email to get it to play.)
I think we have to struggle all of our lives. Because life is just moments, episodes. Bad, regular, good. At home I was taught to work hard to be number one. They say I have a bad temper. I have a strong personality, which is different. I am the kind of person who just says yes or no.
It’s a fantastic, beautifully shot documentary, and though it’s relatively short it’s truly impressive in its depth. It doesn’t just provide gorgeous, diverse footage of Colombia itself, you also learn how the sport of weightlifting is developing in the country.
In addition to intimate interviews with Figueroa, we’re taken to this childhood weightlifting gym and introduced to his matronly former trainer Damaris Delgado, who helped sculpt Figueroa into an elite athlete. (“He knew absolutely nothing about weightlifting,” she says. “But he learned the technique in one day.”)
Figueroa repeatedly says that everyone needs to struggle. From being unable to lift the bar in Beijing to a diagnosis of a cervical hernia, Figueroa knows a thing or two about struggle.
Trying to medal at age thirty-seven might be his biggest yet.
Featured image via @iwfnet on Instagram.