Sport Focus: 12 Things You Didn't Know About Weightlifting

February 21, 2020

In the 70 years since Weightlifting was first added to the Commonwealth Games programme, Scottish athletes have been regular visitors to the podium. As our Sport Focus comes to a close, here are 12 things you might not know about the sport and its history at the Games:

  1. Weightlifting was first introduced to the Commonwealth Games at the Auckland 1950 Games and has featured ever since. In 2006, Weightlifting became a core sport, meaning it is one of a number of sports that must be included at each Games.


  1. Para-Sport Powerlifting made its Commonwealth Games debut at the 2002 Games in Manchester. This was also the year that Weightlifting events for women were first included.
  1. Early Olympic competition had ‘one handed’ and ‘two handed’ lift categories. The one handed events were dropped in 1928.


  1. Scotland has won a total of 16 medals to date in Weightlifting across all Commonwealth Games; two gold, five silver and nine bronze.


  1. Scotland’s most successful weightlifter is Philip Caira, who won gold at both the Cardiff 1958 Games, and Perth 1962 Games. He became the first weightlifter from any nation to successfully defend a Commonwealth Games title and remains Scotland’s only gold medallist in the sport.


  1. The number of lifts was originally three (the Press, the Snatch, and the Clean and Jerk), before being reduced to two (the Snatch, and the Clean and Jerk) in 1974. Each competitor is allowed a maximum of three attempts at each of the different lifts; if they fail to register a valid lift in one of the categories, they are eliminated. In Para-Powerlifting, only one lift, the Bench Press, is contested and each athlete has three attempts to life the largest weight possible.


  1. The gold medal is awarded to the athlete who lifts the heaviest weight. However, if two athletes lift the same weight successfully, then the winner will be the athlete with the lighter body weight.


  1. At the Kuala Lumpur 1998 Games, twin brothers Stuart and Tommy Yule found themselves on opposing teams due to a quirk of residency rules. Stuart competed for Scotland while Tommy competed for England. They were finally reunited in wearing Scotland colours at Manchester 2002, with Tommy winning bronze in the Snatch. Tommy went on to also win bronze in 2006. Their father represented Scotland in Weightlifting at the 1974 Games and their mother in the Shot Putt at Edinburgh 1970. Stuart is now Head Strength and Conditioning Coach with the Scotland National Rugby Team while Tommy is Director of Performance Support at British Athletics.


  1. Micky Yule became the first Scottish athlete to compete in Para-Sport Powerlifting at the 2014 Games in Glasgow, where he finished 4th. He returned for Gold Coast 2018, just missing out on a medal again, coming 4th for his second consecutive Games.


  1. Between 1990 and 2002, separate medals were awarded for the Snatch, the Clean and Jerk, and for the combined total. However this was stopped in 2006, and since then, medals have only been awarded for combined total.


  1. Peter Kirkbride has won medals in weightlifting at both the Commonwealth Youth Games and the Commonwealth Games. He won gold at the 2004 Youth Games in Bendigo, before just missing out on gold by a single kilogram at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.


  1. Until the 1966 Games in Kingston, Jamaica the weights lifted were measured in pounds rather than kilos.

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