Weightlifting is a titanic test of sheer strength that boasts a long history as a competitive sport. Evidence suggests that weightlifting can be traced back to the Egyptians and Ancient Greeks, who hefted sandbags and stones of all sizes as a way to measure strength and power.
The 19th century saw weightlifting as an entertaining showcase fill venues and music halls, with professional ‘strongmen’ travelling from town to town. Huge, hulking figures that hoped to out-lift their competitors with feats of incredible strength – sometimes by pulling carts and even lifting livestock.
It wasn’t until 1877 in Vienna that the first known organised weightlifting competition took place. In 1986, the sport was included in the programme for the Olympic Games in Athens, where Scottish weightlifter Launceston Elliot famously became Britain’s first ever Olympic champion, earning a gold medal in the ‘one hand lift’ event.
Weightlifting was first introduced to the Commonwealth Games at the Auckland 1950 British Empire Games – organised after a 12 year gap due to the Second World War.
Athletes from the Federation of Malaya (now Malaysia), England and Canada took home Gold medals, as well as New Zealand’s Harold Cleghorn who was named ‘the strongest man in the Empire’ after winning the Heavyweight competition.
The Commonwealth Games has gone on to produce some legendary sporting moments in Weightlifting, including the ‘Pocket Rocket’ Precious McKenzie taking Gold in 1966, 1970 and 1974, and Nauru’s former president Marcus Stephen winning seven Gold medals from 1990–2002.
Women’s Weightlifting was added to the programme at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Game, where Gold medals were awarded to competitors from Cameroon, Australia, Wales, Canada, Nauru and India.
Nigeria pulled the biggest Weightlifting haul at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, and will be big contenders for Glasgow 2014 along with Australia, England, Canada, India and Wales. Look out for Team Scotland's Peter Kirkbride and up-and-coming athletes from Oceania, Asia and Africa too.
Weightlifting is an adrenaline fuelled sport that will rock at the Games, where the weight of a feather can be the difference between medal glory and going home empty handed. BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW.
Reallocated seats will continue to be made available for public sale right up until Games Time so remember to keep checking the Ticketing website.
- From 1950–1966, weights lifted were measured in pounds.
- In 1974, the number of lifts was reduced from three (the press, the snatch and the clean and jerk) to two (the snatch and the clean and jerk).
- From 1990–2002, separate medals were awarded for the snatch and the clean and jerk as well as for the combined total. Since 2006, medals have only been awarded based on the combined total of both.
- In 1998, the number of men’s weight categories was reduced from 10 to 8.
- Weightlifting became a core sport of the Commonwealth Games programme at Melbourne 2006.