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Weightlifting at the 1896 Athina Summer Games:

Men's Unlimited, Two Hands

Weightlifting at the 1896 Summer Games: Next Summer Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Panathenaic Stadium, Athina
Date Started: April 7, 1896
Date Finished: April 7, 1896

Gold: DEN Viggo Jensen
Silver: GBR Launceston Elliot
Bronze: GRE Sotirios Versis

Summary

This event, lifting a barbell with two hands, was the first held of the two weightlifting competitions. Elliot and Jensen tied for first place but Jensen was awarded first place by the judges, based on his having lifted in a better style, as apparently Elliot moved one foot while lifting his weight. From the article by Ian Buchanan in Citius, Altius, Fortius (Vol. 3, No. 1, p. 20), we have:

"The two-handed lift came first on the program and, after a long drawn out contest, Viggo Jensen of Denmark and Elliot had both lifted 110 kg., but Prince George awarded the Dane first place for having done so in better style. Jensen’s lift was accomplished with a superb clean lift whereas Elliot had certainly encountered difficulty but to award the Olympic title on the basis of 'style' was a decision to which Lawrence Levy, understandably, took exception.

"Levy’s main objection was that, as both contestants had lifted the same weight, they should now each be given the chance to lift a heavier weight in accordance with all known weightlifting protocol. Prince George then agreed with Levy's view but the decision was rendered academic by the rider to the judgment that there were, in fact, no heavier weights available. Levy stood his ground and eventually plates were screwed onto the barbell and lifting was resumed. After Jensen had raised the bar, Levy again objected, this time on the grounds that Jensen’s method was not in accordance with the rules.

"Again Prince George sided against Levy and once more lifting was resumed, by which time most of the spectators had left but they didn’t miss a great deal as, eventually, the original result based on 'style' was allowed to stand. By contrast, the one-handed event was a short, sharp event. Elliot declined Prince George’s courteous offer of a rest break but he asked that he might this time lift after Jensen, as in the two-handed event the Dane had the advantage of lifting after Elliot. The request was granted although the order of lifting was not to have a material effect on the result. Elliot raised 71.0 kg. without difficulty whereas Jensen, who had injured his shoulder trying to raise 112.5 kg. in the two-handed event, could only manage 57.2 kg. and Britain’s first Olympic champion was crowned.

"One feature that stands out from the judging of the competition is the inherent courtesy exercised by Prince George throughout the proceedings. Despite the constant protests of Lawrence Levy, the Prince sought him out that evening at an illumination display at the Royal Palace, and smilingly enquired 'Are you calmer now, Mr. Levy?'"

Levy was apparently unaware of the rules stating that the tie-breaker was the style of the lift.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal K
1 Viggo Jensen 21 Denmark DEN Gold 111.5 OR
2 Launceston Elliot 21 Great Britain GBR Silver 111.5
3 Sotirios Versis Greece GRE Bronze 90.0
4T Georgios Papasideris Greece GRE 90.0
4T Carl Schuhmann 26 Germany GER 90.0
6 Momcsilló Tapavicza 23 Hungary HUN 80.0