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Weightlifting at the 1920 Antwerpen Summer Games

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Host City: Antwerpen, Belgium
Date Started: August 29, 1920
Date Finished: August 29, 1920
Events: 5

Participants: 53 (53 men and 0 women) from 14 countries
Youngest Participant: LUX Michel Mertes (18 years, 212 days)
Oldest Participant: SWE Albert Pettersson (35 years, 117 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 15 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): BEL Belgium and FRA France (3 medals)


The 1920 weightlifting events were contested outdoors, at the Beerschot Stadium shortly after the track & field events had been completed. This was common in early Olympics, when weightlifting was actually contested as a portion of the track & field contests in 1896 and 1904.

Most of the world’s great weightlifters were not present at Antwerp in 1920. The top lifters in the world in 1920 were German and Austrian but those countries were not invited to the Olympics because of their aggressor status during World War I. Only unofficial World Championships had been contested prior to 1920, the last one in 1913. After the Olympic weightlifting events, a separate world championship was contested in Vienna in early September. It was held concurrently with a similar event for wrestling. Of the 15 medalists at that event, all but one was from either Germany or Austria. Weightlifting was not contested at the 1919 Inter-Allied Games in Paris.

The French and Swedish teams both brought their own barbells to Antwerp, as they liked to use their own equipment. The French liked barbells without discs while the Swedes preferred one with discs. The director-general of the competition decided against allowing them to use their own equipment.