On Wednesday, July 28, 2021, Chinese weightlifter Shi Zhiyong won the gold medal in the Men’s 73-kilogram category at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by lifting a combined total of 364 kilograms (802.4 pounds) for a new world record. He also holds the current clean & jerk and snatch world record, with lifts of 198 kilograms and 169 kilograms, respectively.
Zhiyong, who previously held both the Olympic Record total from the 2016 Games in Rio as well as the World Record total (one kilogram less than his Tokyo performance), racked up China’s fourth gold medal in weightlifting, joining Hou Zhihui (49 kilograms), Li Fabin (61 kilograms), and Chen Lijun (67 kilograms).
Shi Zhiyong Tokyo 2020 Lifts
Here is Zhiyong’s complete performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, which took place at 6:50 a.m. EST on Monday, July 28, 2021.
- Snatch — 158/163/166 kilograms (365.9 pounds)
- Clean & Jerk — 188/192X/198 kilograms (436.5 pounds)
- Total — 364 kilograms (802.4 pounds)
View this post on Instagram
Placing ahead of the silver medalist from Venezuela, Julio Reben Mayora Pernia, by a whopping 18 kilograms, Zhiyong’s achievement in Tokyo surprised few but impressed all. After an uncharacteristic missed attempt on his second clean & jerk of the event at 192 kilograms due to an unlocked right elbow, Zhiyong increased the weight on the bar by six kilograms to best his previous record in the total, which he had set at the 2019 World Weightlifting Championships in Pattaya, Thailand.
Zhiyong’s 5/6 performance is the latest feat to be added to his impeccable resume. Since his debut in 2012, the Chinese middleweight has not once been defeated in international competition. His seemingly unassailable position at the top of one of weightlifting’s more competitive categories mirrors the career of predecessor Liao Hui, who held multiple records and titles in the now-defunct Men’s 69-kilogram category.
Shi Zhiyong International Gold Medals
- Asian Championships — 2012, 2016, 2019, 2020
- World Championships — 2015, 2018, 2019
- IWF World Cup — 2019
- Olympic Games — 2016, 2020
The Future of Weightlifting
At 27 years of age, Zhiyong is not the youngest competitor in contention for World titles in his category. Athletes like Julio Mayora of Venezuela (24), who took silver in Tokyo this year, and 21-year-old American prodigy Clarence “CJ” Cummings Jr., who ranked ninth at the 2020 Olympics but holds four successive junior World titles to his name, are on the heels of China’s powerhouse athlete.
However, with two Olympic golds around his neck before the age of 30, China is not likely to sideline Zhiyong anytime soon — nor is he expected to slow down his international domination in weightlifting. With the 2024 Olympic Games confirmed for Paris, Zhiyong will have three years to widen his lead in the international circuit while preparing to defend his title at a third Olympic event.
The 2020 Olympic Games run from July 23, 2021, to August 8, 2021. Details on how to watch weightlifting and other events can be found here.
Featured Image: Stephen Galvan for the IWF