Nicknamed The Pocket Hercules for his 4’10” frame, Bulgarian weightlifter Naim Suleymanoglu was one of the world’s greatest in the sport. While he initially won 2 World Championships for Bulgaria, he later won 3 Olympic gold medals and 5 World Championships for Turkey. He has also joined the Nationalist Movement Party.
Matthias Steiner is a Austrian-German former weightlifter best known for winning a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. He also won a silver medal at the World Championships as well as two silver medals at the European Championships during his career.
Hossein Rezazadeh is an Iranian politician. Also a former weightlifter, he is a two-time Olympic champion and four-time World Weightlifting champion. He is widely considered one of the greatest weightlifters of all time. The Rezazadeh Stadium was built in his honor. He entered politics in 2013 and was elected as a member of the City Council of Tehran.
Pyrros Dimas is a Greek politician who represented the Panhellenic Socialist Movement between 2012 and 2015. A former weightlifter, Dimas is counted among the greatest weightlifters of all time. Having won three gold medals in Olympic Games, Pyrros Dimas is the most successful Greek athlete in the history of the Olympics. He also won three gold medals in World Championships.
Shi Zhiyong is a Chinese professional weightlifter best known for winning a gold medal at the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games. A three-time world champion, Shi has set 13 world records so far in his illustrious career. He also holds the current records for the snatch, total, and clean and jerk in the 73 kg category.
Óscar Figueroa is a Colombian weightlifter who specializes in the 62 kg category. He is best known for winning a gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. He also has an Olympic silver medal under his belt. Figueroa first achieved popularity in 2006 when he won a silver medal at the World Championships in Santo Domingo.
Tia-Clair Toomey is an Australian CrossFit Games athlete and weightlifter. As a weightlifter, she won a gold medal for Australia at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Toomey has also won five CrossFit Games Championship titles so far; she won these titles in five successive CrossFit Games starting from 2017.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Bulgarian-born Turkish weightlifter Halil Mutlu has also been a 5-time World Champion and a 9-time European Champion. He also enjoys wrestling in his leisure time. He was disqualified from the 2005 Sofia European Championship due to a 2-year ban for testing positive for a banned steroid.
Hidilyn Diaz is a Filipino airwoman and weightlifter. She achieved national fame in 2020, when she became the first Filipino to win an Olympic gold for the Philippines. Hidilyn Diaz earned her first Olympic medal in 2016, when she won a silver medal in Rio de Janeiro. She has also won medals at the World Championships and Asian Championships.
Icelandic weightlifter and CrossFit athlete Sara Sigmundsdóttir was placed 3rd in the CrossFit Games twice. She has also won the 2016 Dubai Fitness Championship and appeared in the documentary Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness. She now works as a trainer at CrossFit Sudurnes in Reykjanesbaer.
Apart from being a 5-time world champion, Lü Xiaojun is also a 2-time Olympic gold medalist. His gold win at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, at 37, made him the oldest weightlifter to achieve the feat. He also won a silver at the Rio Olympics. He is married to fellow world-class weightlifter Guo Xiyan.
Mark Henry is an American powerlifter, strongman, Olympic weightlifter, and retired professional wrestler. He is best known for his appearance in WWE, where he was often referred to as the world's strongest man. In 2018, he was made an inductee to the WWE Hall of Fame. A three-time USA National Weightlifting Champion, Henry holds several weightlifting records.
Yurik Vardanyan was a Soviet Armenian weightlifter best remembered for winning a gold medal at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. One of the most decorated weightlifters of his generation, Yurik Vardanyan was a seven-time world champion and five-time European champion. In 1994, he was made an inductee of the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame.
Olympic gold medalist Li Wenwen is one of the most well-known weightlifters of China. She is also a national champion, an Asian champion, and a world champion. She made headlines when she revealed that she had slept on the floor in the Olympic village in Tokyo, as she found the beds too soft.
Olympic gold medal-winning Chinese weightlifter Long Qingquan created history during the Rio Olympics, when he broke Halil Mutlu's Sydney 2000 world record of 305kg by lifting 307kg. He is also a former world champion and has had two silver wins and a bronze win at the World Championships, too.
Belarusian weightlifter Andrei Aramnau is not just an Olympic champion but also has a World Championship gold in his kitty. Born with 6 fingers on one hand, which he believed was due to the Chernobyl disaster, he had to cut his 6th finger at age 14 to compete professionally.
Yossef Romano was an Israeli weightlifter who competed in the 1972 Munich Oympics in West Germany. An Israeli weight-lifting champion for nine years, Romano was among the 11 Israeli team members who were killed in the 1972 Munich massacre, an attack by a terrorist group named Black September. Romano was 32 years old at the time of his death.
Former Iranian super heavyweight weightlifter Behdad Salimi is not just an Olympic gold medalist but has also won gold medals at the Asian Games, the Asian Championships, and the World Championships. Known as the Iranian Hercules, he was once dismissed for criticizing coach Kourosh Bagheri for using abusive language.
Bulgarian male weightlifter Karlos Nasar won a gold medal in the 81 kg category at the 2021 World Weightlifting Championships setting world record in clean and jerk 208 kg event for 81 kg weight class. Other achievements of Nasar includes winning a silver medal each in 2021 (81 Kg category) and 2022 (89 kg category) at the European Weightlifting Championships.
Iranian weightlifter Kianoush Rostami has 2 Olympic medals in his kitty, one of them being a gold medal. He is also an Asian Champion and a 2-time World Champion. In 2017, he auctioned his Olympic gold medal to raise money for the victims of a devastating earthquake near the Iran-Iraq border.
Tian Tao is a Chinese professional weightlifter best known for winning the silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He has also won gold medals at the 2014 Asian Games, 2019 World Championships, and 2019 and 2020 Asian Championships.
Zhou Lulu is one of China’s most well-known weightlifters and competes in the heaviest women’s weightlifting category, the +75kg. By lifting 333kg, she set a world record and won the gold at the 2012 London Olympics. She has also earned World Championship and Asian Games gold medals.