When weightlifting was contested at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, it featured two events -- a one-hand lift and a two-hand lift. At ensuing Olympics, weight categories were added, and often adjusted. The most significant re-working of the divisions came in 2000, when women's events were added. There are eight men's weight classes and seven women's classes; 15 gold medals will be awarded in weighlifting.
Weightlifting in London will be contested at ExCeL, situated near London City Airport in east London's Royal Victoria Dock.
In men's Olympic weightlifting, athletes in the same bodyweight category are split into groups of 8-12 lifters, with the better lifters in Group A, the others in Group B. The groups compete in reverse order (B then A). Medallists are usually decided from the A group. For women, there is only one group. The order of lifts is snatch, then clean and jerk. The order of competitors is determined by random draw, and remains the same throughout the competition. The order could be an important factor -- if two athletes have lifted the same total weight and have the same body weight, the winner is the one who first achieved the total. At the Olympics, medals are awarded to the top three competitors in each weight class based on the highest combined totals from both lifts -- the snatch and the clean and jerk.
A weightlifter's score is tabulated by adding up his or her biggest lift in each of the two disciplines: snatch and clean & jerk.
A lifter may finish in a position other than first in either of the disciplines and come away as the overall champion. Very often, the overall winner has the best lift in at least one of the disciplines.
In the event of a two-way tie for first, the lifter with the lower body weight at the pre-competition weigh-in is declared the winner.
In Olympic weightlifting, three referees evaluate each lift. Once a referee makes a decision, he or she presses a white (good lift) or red (no lift) button on the scoring device. When a button is pressed, a light appears, corresponding to the color of the button. As soon as two of the three referees have made the same decision (white or red), a visible and an audible signal is given to the lifter, indicating he or she can lower the barbell.