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Weightlifting at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games

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Host City: Atlanta, United States
Date Started: July 20, 1996
Date Finished: July 20, 1996
Events: 10

Participants: 243 (243 men and 0 women) from 77 countries
Youngest Participant: NRU Quincy Detenamo (17 years, 139 days)
Oldest Participant: GER Manfred Nerlinger (35 years, 307 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 30 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): GRE Greece (5 medals)


And now the weight class silliness started. After the 1992 Olympics, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), concerned about the world records set in the 1980s and early 90s in the doping era, changed all the weight class limits, cancelling all previous world records, and starting anew. This didn't work very well, so after the 1996 Olympics, the IWF changed the weight classes again. This didn't work very well either, so in 1998 new weight classes were established again. Olympic historian David Wallechinsky has called this the “cleansing” of the weightlifting world records.

At Atlanta in 1996 there were still 10 weight classes, effectively at the same weights, differing by only a few kilograms, but this would be the last Olympics with this many weightlifting events for men. At Sydney in 2000, the men would drop back to eight weight classes, although women's weightlifting was added, with seven classes for women.

The 1996 Olympic weightlifting tournament was held at the [Georgia World Congress Center] in Atlanta. It was built in 1976, is used as a convention center by Atlanta, and is the fourth largest convention center in the United States (as of 2014). Multiple sports were contested there in 1996 – fencing (and modern pentathlon fencing), handball, judo, table tennis, weightlifting, and wrestling.

Fourteen nations won medals in weightlifting in 1996, the most to that date, and the most ever before women started competing in Olympic weightlifting. There was no dominant nation in Atlanta as Greece, China, Russia, and Turkey won two gold medals. Greek lifters won the most medals with five, followed by China with four, and Bulgaria, Germany, and Russia with three.