Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): ExCeL, Newham, London
Date Started: July 31, 2012
Date Finished: July 31, 2012
Format: Total of best lifts in snatch and clean & jerk determined placement. Ties broken by lightest bodyweight.
There was no Chinese entry in the women’s middleweight weightlifting event at the 2012 Summer Olympics, making it unusual in that the favorite was not from that nation. In fact there were two favorites for the gold medal, Maiya Maneza of Kazakhstan, 2009 and 2010 World Champion, 2011 runner-up, and 2010 Asian Games Champion, and Svetlana Tsarukayeva of Russia, 2011 World Champion and runner-up in 2006 (in the lightweight division), 2007, and 2009. Each was also a world record holder, Maeza in the clean and jerk and Tsarukayeva in the snatch. The third podium spot was somewhat more open and, with only ten competitors, it was anyone’s medal to win. Strong challengers included Christine Girard of Canada, the most recent Commonwealth and Pan American Champion, and Sibel Şimşek of Turkey, four times European Champion (2004 in the light-heavyweight, 2009, 2010, 2012), twice runner-up (2007 and 2008), and silver medalist at the 2010 World Championships.
Tsarukayeva and Maneza dominated the snatch portion of the event, with lifts of 112 kg and 110 kg respectively; next in line was Şimşek, who only managed 105 kg. The Russian fell behind in the clean and jerk, however, lifting 125 kg in her first attempt and then failing to lift 130 kg in two subsequent ones. She remained in first place while Şimşek and Girard each lifted 130 kg and the Turk, with a 2 kg advantage from the snatch, slid into the silver medal position. Not to be outdone, the Canadian lifted 133 kg in her next attempt to move into second place, a feat that Şimşek was unable to replicate. Milka Maneva of Bulgaria, bronze medalist at the 2008 European Championships, then attempted to knock Şimşek off the podium entirely by lifting 134 kg, which would have tied her with Girard for points and placed her in second by virtue of her lower body weight, but she failed and remained in fourth. Maneza was more successful, lifting 135 kg on her first attempt to surpass Tsarukayeva by eight points, tie the Olympic record for the clean and jerk, set a new one for total score, and win the gold medal. Already guaranteed bronze, Girard then attempted to lift the same weight to pass the Russian as well, but failed. Guaranteed to be an Olympic Champion, with her final two attempts Maneza tried to lift 144 kg, which would have broken the world record for the clean and jerk, but was unsuccessful.