New bodyweight classes

In an effort to reset the record books heavily tainted by doping, in 2018 the International Weightlifting Federation announced a full slate of new bodyweight divisions for both men’s and women’s competition. At the Olympics, those divisions are now as follows:

 

MEN WOMEN

61 kg  (134.5 lbs) 

49 kg  (108.0 lbs) 

67 kg  (148.7 lbs) 

55 kg  (121.3 lbs) 

73 kg  (160.9 lbs) 

59 kg  (130.1 lbs) 

81 kg  (178.6 lbs) 

64 kg  (141.1 lbs) 

96 kg  (211.6 lbs) 

76 kg  (167.6 lbs) 

109 kg  (240.3 lbs) 

87 kg  (191.8 lbs) 

+109 kg  (over 240.3 lbs) 

+87 kg  (over 191.8 lbs) 

Who’s Back

Lasha Talakhadze: The 2016 gold medalist in the +105 kg (now +109 kg) superheavyweight division has continued to make history since Rio. When bodyweight classes were reset in 2018, Talakhadze’s 2016 Olympic total of 477 kg ceased to be an official world record. However, the 27-year-old Georgian set a new record almost immediately. Then, at the 2019 World Weightlifting Championships, Talakhadze lifted more weight than any human ever in official competition with a 220 kg snatch and 264 kg clean & jerk. His 484 kg total was a staggering 24 kilos better than second place. He will be favored to extend his legacy as the greatest super heavyweight lifter of all time in Tokyo.

Jenny Arthur: Arthur finished a respectable 6th place in the women’s 75 kg (now 76 kg) weight class in Rio. Three years later, though, the Gainesville, Georgia native captured bronze at 2019 Worlds. She will look to replicate – or better – that performance in Tokyo.

Sarah Robles: The United States’ only weightlifting medal in Rio came when Robles lifted 286 kilos for bronze in the women’s +75 kg (now +87 kg) division. Robles, now 32, remains Team USA’s best chance for a medal in this division in Tokyo, though she’ll almost certainly have to set new personal bests in both lifts to do it. At the 2019 World Weightlifting Championships, the third place total was 25 kg greater than it was at the 2016 Olympics.

New Faces to Watch

Kathrine Nye and Mattie Rodgers: Two young Americans have emerged since Rio and taken over the women’s 71 kg division. Nye, the IWF Female Weightlifter of the Year in 2019, won gold at that year’s world championships, forcing Rodgers to the second step of the podium. Unfortunately, the 71 kg division is not included at the Tokyo Olympics, so Nye and Rodgers with either have to move up to 76 kg or down to 64 kg. Both options pose difficult challenges.

CJ Cummings: At just 20 years old (21 in June), CJ Cummings enters 2021 as one of the most promising young talents in the sport. The South Carolinian won gold at four-consecutive junior world championships from 2016-2019, then set an American Record in the 73 kg weight class at the 2019 Pan American Weightlifting Championships, lifting a total of 344 kg.