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Rules

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National Rules

The rules used in Olympic Weightlifting competition are the standard international rules set out by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) and approved by the Olympic administration.

There are many rules to follow in Olympic Weightlifting, but most of the are not important to you, the viewer at home. I’ve listed below the main rules that you will find helpful to know when watching the Olympics. For the athlete interested in competitive weightlifting, I’ve included useful links where more specific information can be found. However, just as I recommend for competitive bodybuilding, the hiring of a coach for being successful at competition is invaluable; even more in this sport where expert execution of the lift is a must.

Weight Class Rules

Athletes in the sport are divided in several weight classes and placing is based on the total weight lifted on the two main lifts.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games which would be the same as the 2012 London Games :
Men competed in eight body weight categories: up to : 56kg, 62kg, 69kg, 77kg, 85kg, 94kg, 105kg and +105kg.

Women participated in seven categories: up to 48kg, 53kg, 58kg, 63kg, 69kg, 75kg, 90 and +90kg.
Only two weightlifters per country are allowed to compete in each weight class as long as the team total not more then eight men and seven women,In any Olympics number of lifters from each county would be different to next Olympic and it is depends it to the result of each countries in International competitions.

If the number of entries for a weight class is too big (over 15 entries, for instance) then it can be split into a couple of groups; Groups A and B with Group A being the strongest performers (where performance is based on what they estimate they’ll be capable of lifting). Once final results are collected for all groups, then the results are all combined for the weight class and ranked. The highest score wins gold, the one that follows bronze, and the third highest takes bronze.

Weightlifting Equipment Rules

Men and women are to use different barbells. Men use barbells weighing 20kg and 15kg respectively.
Each bar must be equipped with two collars weighing 2.5Kg each.
Discs are to be colour coordinated according to the following: 25Kg-red, 20Kg-blue, 15Kg-yellow 0.50Kg, 10Kg-green, 5Kg-white, 2.5Kg-red, 2 Kg-Blue , Yellow-1.5Kg , 1kg-Green , 0.500kg-white
The barbell is loaded in progression of lowest weight to heaviest weight. The barbell is never to be reduced to a lighter weight once an athlete has performed a lift with the weight announced.
The minimum progression weight after a good lift is 1kg
The time limit for an athlete to begin an attempt after being called to the platform is one minute. At 30 seconds remaining there is a warning signal. The exception to this rule is when a competitor takes two attempts one after the other, in which case the athlete may rest up to 2 minutes. In such case, the athlete also gets a warning after 90 seconds have elapsed without a lift.

How The Sport Is Judged

Each athlete is allowed three attempts at each chosen weight for each lift.
Three referees judge the lift.
If the lift is successful, the referee immediately hits a white button and a white light is turned on, indicating the lift as successful. In this case then the score is recorded.
If a lift is unsuccessful or deemed invalid, then the referee hits the red button and a red light goes off. The highest score for each lift is the one that gets used as the official value for the lift.
Once the highest value has been collected for each lift, the total weight lifted in the snatch is added to the total weight lifted in the clean and jerk. The lifter with the highest combined weight lifted becomes the champion. In the case of a tie, then the lifter whose body weight is less becomes the champion.

Under 13 rules

Under 11s and under 13s are also marked for technique. Under 11s are NOT required to increase weight between attempts, though they may. Under 13s must increase the weight following a successful attempt, by a minimum of 1 kg.
For both under 11 and under 13s all attempts are counted and added to the points total. The maximum technique points for a Snatch is 4. For the Clean it is 8 and for the Jerk it is 8. Over all the max technique points are 72 which ensures that, in most cases, technical merit outweighs the total weight lifted.
The points are decided as follows.
Snatch
Get Set position: 0 or 1 point; Pull to knee height: 0 or 1 point; Full extension; 0or 1; Squat under: 0 or 1 point
The points are then doubled
Clean
Get set: 0 or 1; Pull to knees: 0 or 1; Full extension: 0 or 1; Drop and receive: 0 or 1.
The points are then doubled

 

Jerk:
Start position: 0 or 1; Dip and Drive: 0 or 1; Receive in split: 0 or 1; Recovery: 0 or 1
The points are then doubled

 

Power Clean gets only 1 point, ditto Power Snatch.
Clean and Jerk are assessed individually. An incomplete lift eg a Clean Pull to knee height scores 0.
Power Jerk scores only 1
Any lift failed by the referee scores 0

Under 17 rules
  • 1.  The Snatch
    The bar must be lifted from floor to arms length overhead without a press. The arms may not lock and unlock. The wrists may not turn over before the bar passes the head. The bar must be held motionless and the feet  in line apart until there is a signal from the referee to lower it. The bar must not be dropped from above shoulder height.
    The centre of the bar is set at 22.5 cm from the floor and once it reaches knee height it must not pause or be lowered during the pull.
    It must be replaced on the platform (4 x 4 m.) and no part of the body may overlap the edge save on a raised platform, so long as no part of the foot is touching the floor outside the platform.
    The bar must not touch the head  nor any head covering.   The lifter has three attempts. The best one counts.
  • 2. The Clean & Jerk
    The bar must be lifted from the floor onto the chest in a single movement with no pause, nor any lowering of the bar. Once it reaches knee height it may not be lowered nor paused.  The feet, if they have moved, are then to be placed in line apart and, when the knees are straight, the bar is Jerked in a continuous movement to arms length overhead. There must be no press and no pause.
    If the feet were moved to do this they must be brought in line apart, the lifter must be motionless and the referee will then signal for the bar to be lowered. It must not be dropped from above shoulder height. There must be only one attempt from the chest.
    The elbows/arms may not touch the legs during the squat or split to receive the bar in the Clean.
    The bar may not be oscillated to assist its take off for the Jerk
    The other rules are as for the Snatch.
  • 3. Order of Lifting
    The bar will rise or remain the same between attempts. If a lifter has to lift successively he or she has 2 minutes from the loading of the bar to the start of the lift. There is a warning when 30 seconds remain. If a different lifter follows, that lifter has 1 minute and has the warning after 30 seconds
    4. Dress
    A leotard is usual.  A T- shirt without collar may be worn under it, as may shorts. The elbows may not be bandaged. The knees may be. Both knees and elbows must be visible to check if they are fully straightened above the head. A plain, tight fittting unitard may be worn under the leotard.
    Wrist bandages are allowed but must not be attached to the bar.
  • 5. Bodyweight categories
    Men
    Up to and including: 50; 56; 62; 69; 77; 85; 94; +94kg 
    Women
    Up to and including : 44; 48; 53; 58; 63;+ 69;+69                                                                                                                                                        
  • 6. The weigh in
    It will last 1 hour. A lifter who is overweight and wishes to make weight may be  re-weighed within the set hour. Lifters may weigh naked or in underwear.
  • 7. Number of attempts
    There are three attempts on each of the lifts. Only the best of the three counts in the total. That means one Snatch and one Clean & Jerk. The attempt must increase if the previous attempt was successful. An attempt that fails may be repeated. The minimum increase is 1 kg..
    If a lifter fails to inform the official of his next attempt the bar will be loaded with 1 kg more, 30 seconds after the previous lift. This leaves only 30 seconds in which time the attempt must start.   There are 60 seconds allowed between attempts if a lifter is following another one. If a lifter is lifting successively there are 2 minutes
Senior rule
  •  1- The Snatch ;The bar must be lifted from floor to arms length overhead without a press. The arms may not lock and unlock. The wrists may not turn over before the bar passes the head. The bar must be held motionless and the feet in line apart until there is a signal from the referee to lower it. The bar must not be dropped from above shoulder height.The centre of the bar is set at 22.5 cm from the floor and once it reaches knee height it must not pause or be lowered during the pull.It must be replaced on the platform (4 x 4 m.) and no part of the body may overlap the edge save on a raised platform, so long as no part of the foot is touching the floor outside the platform.The bar must not touch the head nor any head covering. The lifter has three attempts. The best one counts.
  • 2. The Clean & Jerk
    The bar must be lifted from the floor onto the chest in a single movement with no pause, nor any lowering of the bar. Once it reaches knee height it may not be lowered nor paused. The feet, if they have moved, are then to be placed in line apart and, when the knees are straight, the bar is Jerked in a continuous movement to arms length overhead. There must be no press and no pause.
    If the feet were moved to do this they must be brought in line apart, the lifter must be motionless and the referee will then signal for the bar to be lowered. It must not be dropped from above shoulder height. There must be only one attempt from the chest.
    The elbows/arms may not touch the legs during the squat or split to receive the bar in the Clean.
    The bar may not be oscillated to assist its take off for the Jerk
    The other rules are as for the Snatch.
  • 3. Order of Lifting
    The bar will rise or remain the same between attempts. If a lifter has to lift successively he or she has 2 minutes from the loading of the bar to the start of the lift. There is a warning when 30 seconds remain. If a different lifter follows, that lifter has 1 minute and has the warning after 30seconds
  • 4. Dress
    A leotard is usual. A T- shirt without collar may be worn under it, as may shorts. The elbows may not be bandaged. The knees may be. Both knees and elbows must be visible to check if they are fully straightened above the head. A plain, tight fittting unitard may be worn under the leotard.
    Wrist bandages are allowed but must not be attached to the bar.
  • 5. Bodyweight categories
    Men                                                                   Women
    Up to and including                                               Up to and including                                                                                                                               56; 62; 69; 77; 85; 94; 105; +105 kg                   48; 53; 58; 63; 69; 75; 90                                                                                 & 90+
  • 6. The weigh in
    It will last 1 hour. A lifter who is overweight and wishes to make weight may be re-weighed within the set hour. Lifters may weigh naked or in underwear.
  • 7. Number of attempts
    There are three attempts on each of the lifts. Only the best of the three counts in the total. That means one Snatch and one Clean & Jerk. The attempt must increase if the previous attempt was successful. An attempt that fails may be repeated. The minimum increase is 1 kg..
    If a lifter fails to inform the official of his next attempt the bar will be loaded with 1 kg more, 30 seconds after the previous lift. This leaves only 30 seconds in which time the attempt must start. There are 60 seconds allowed between attempts if a lifter is following another one. If a lifter is lifting successively there are 2 minutes