Weightlifting Update: Kianoush Rostami Sets World Record, Wins Gold in 85kg Over Tian Tao

Even with World Champion Artem Okulov and perennial threat Apti Aukhadov out of the 2016 Olympics, the men’s 85kg category was still a battle for dominance between two lifters capable of world record lifts. In the end, the more consistent man won: Iran’s Kianoush Rostami, who set new clean & jerk and total world records earlier this year, is the new Olympic Champion. And he broke his own total world record by 1kg to do so.

China’s Tian Tao — seen by many as an ultra-talented but somewhat inconsistent lifter — took silver after making only his last attempts in both the snatch and clean & jerk.

The men’s 85kg podium is as follows; the new 85kg total record stands at 396kg:

1. Kianoush Rostami (Iran)
2. Tian Tao (China)
3. Gabriel Sincraian (Romania)

Rostami’s win marks Iran’s first medal in Rio in any sport. He won bronze in the same weight class in London.

Denis Ulanov of Kazakhstan, who many expected to make a podium run, missed out on bronze on bodyweight.

The session included plenty of drama. Tao missed his first snatch at 173 and then missed his next attempt at 178. In a do-or-die situation, he stuck his final lift at 178kg and trailed Rostami by a single kilogram heading into the clean & jerks. (Rostami took an attempt at 182kg and failed.)

However, it appeared Tao hurt his elbow on the snatch, which left viewers in doubt as to whether he would make an appearance in the next phase of competition.

Tao opened at 210 in the clean & jerk and missed, then missed his second attempt at the same weight. Meanwhile, Rostami missed his opener at 215kg, then made the weight on his second attempt. Tao, Rostami, and Romanian lifter Gabriel Sincraian — who made all six attempts on the day — would all come out to lift an Olympic-record 217 kilograms.

For Tao, the make gave him the silver and saved him from his second straight bombout in international competition.

Featured image: @tparsi on Twitter

David Tao

David Tao

BarBend's Co-Founder and Editorial Director, David is a veteran of the health & fitness industry, with nearly a decade of experience building and running editorial teams in the space. He also serves as a color commentator for both National and International weightlifting competitions, many through USA Weightlifting.

David graduated from Harvard University and served for several years as Editorial Director/Chief Content Officer of Greatist.com. In addition to his work in the health & fitness industry, David has been a writer for Fortune and Fortune.com, as well as a contributor to Forbes.com, Slate, and numerous other outlets across the web and in print. He's especially passionate about the intersection of strength sports and quality, professional media coverage — overlapping interests shared by the BarBend editorial team and which drive their content strategy each and every day.

David is a proud Kentucky native. In his free time, David is a voiceover actor and can be heard in animated films, independent shorts, music videos, commercials, and podcasts.

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