After a tense finish at the men’s 81-kilogram category on Saturday, the 37-year-old Chinese weightlifter became the oldest sportsperson to win an Olympic gold medal. Lyu lifted 170kg in the snatch and 204kg in the clean and jerk for a total of 374kg while wearing his signature shiny gold shoes. It was estimated to be 7kg more than Zacarias Bonnat of the Dominican Republic in second and 9kg ahead of Italian rival Antonino Pizzolato, who won bronze.
After Pizzolato attempted and failed a world-record of 210-kilogram clean and jerk, Lyu’s victory was all but assured. Lyu then attempted the lift with the same weight but was unable to complete it. To commemorate the victory, he lifted his coach into the air and kissed the Chinese flag on his singlet. ‘Five years is a long time for a man of this age,’ Lyu said through an interpreter, looking back to his long wait since winning silver at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
After spending most of his time away at training camps, he said he missed his two children, but that the sport had inspired him and given him a role as a father figure to younger weightlifters.
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