Olympic Highlights You Might Have Missed, Part VI: One Strong German

Matthew IrbySenior Analyst IAugust 24, 2008

Back on Tuesday, weightlifting wrapped up its Olympics with the men's 105+ kg (231 lbs.)  It was one of the most memorable Olympics for weightlifters, with medal after medal, and world and olympic records shattered one after another.

The men's heavyweight division has given us memorable performances from some of the strongest men to ever walk this planet, and some of the scariest looking.

Russia's Evgeni Chigishev, gold medalist at the 2004 Athens Games, lifted 210 kgs in the snatch to take the early lead, followed by Ukrainians Artem Udachyn (207 kg), Latvian Viktors Scherbatihs (206 kg), and German Matthias Steiner (201 kgs).

In the second round, in the clean and jerk Chigishev put up a lift of 250 kgs (551.2 pounds), giving him a grand total of 460 kgs (1014.2 pounds), which is the equivalent of Team USA's men's and women's gymnastic teams combined, no kidding.

Udachyn lifted 235 kgs, but couldn't raise 241 kgs, and he finished at 242 kgs.  Scherbatihs was able to lift 242 kgs, good enough for third at the time.  In his final attempt he tried to lift 257 kgs to surpass Chigishev for gold, but he was unable.

The final lift came from Steiner, already lifting 248 kgs, which was good enough for silver, he attempted 258 kgs in order to beat Chigishev.

In one final roar, he lifted 258 kgs (568.8 pounds), giving him 461 kgs (1016.3 pounds) and the gold medal.

After lifting the weight for the necessary three seconds, Steiner dropped to his knees in tears of joy, and then began to jump up and down like a little school boy.

Steiner ran over to his coaches and embraced them with tears down his face.

The tears both of joy and of sadness.

On the medal stand, when Germany's Matthias Steiner received his gold medal he proudly displayed a picture. It was of his wife Susann, who had died late last year in a car accident.

While Matthias trained, Susann began to collect and save money so that she could join her husband in Beijing, if and when he made the team.

Afterwards Steiner told reporters, "I thought of her before the competition. I won this for her, for friends and family. But mostly for her. I wish she could have been here to see this, but she is always with me."

Steiner's performance on the field and off truly shows how strong the young German is, both physical and mentally. His story and his triumph is yet another example of the power of the human spirit that is best during the Olympic Games.