Watch Chinese Weightlifter Shi Zhiyong Break a World Record to Win Weightlifting Gold

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The fact that weightlifter Shi Zhiyong is taking home a gold medal isn’t all that surprising. After all, he hasn’t been in an international competition since he made his debut in 2012.

What is slightly surprising, however, is the manner of Shi’s victory: setting, as he did, the first weightlifting world record of the Tokyo Olympics and lifting an incredible 19kg more than his nearest competitor in the men’s 73kg category.

Speaking after his victory, Shi explained how winning alone wouldn’t have been enough to satisfy him.

“What makes it exciting is not to get the gold medal, it’s to break my own record. So that means a lot for me,” Zhiyong said through an interpreter. “If I didn’t manage to break my own record, just to get a gold medal, I would feel regret.”

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To take the gold medal, Zhiyong lifted a total of 364kg in his two lifts (a 166kg snatch and a 198kg clean and jerk), which was enough for him to win gold for the second consecutive Olympics.

Zhiyong’s victory also means that of the five Chinese lifters who have competed so far in Tokyo, the nation now has four gold medals and a silver.

Of the other athletes competing in the 73kg category, Venezuela’s Julio Mayora ran Zhiyong closest, even attempting a world-record 199kg clean and jerk before signing off with a backflip on stage.

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Meanwhile, Team USA’s C.J. Cummings could have become the first men’s weightlifting medalist for the United States since 1984, but he wasn’t able to recover from what he described as a “terrible” snatch part of the contest. Cummings still had a shot at a bronze medal when he attempted a 198kg in the clean and jerk but was unable to finish the lift.

“I’m not done. This is a learning experience,” the former world junior champion told The Associated Press. “I’ve got plenty more in me.”

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