Setting: Minsk, Belarus
Act: 2010 Olympic Weightlifting European Championships
Scene: 105+kg weight class
Actors: 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Matthias Steiner (144.4kg body weight), 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Evgeny Chigishev (130.6kg), 20 year old Ruben Aleksanyan (144.5kg)
The 20 year-old Aleksanyan opened with a pretty solid 190kg snatch. Steiner, who hasn’t competed since the 2008 Olympic games, took the same weight as his opener. Steiner racked the weight solidly overhead but had a hesitation in the bottom of the snatch before he stood up with the good lift. Chigishev, who was beaten by Steiner by 1kg at the 2008 Olympics, opened with a beautifully easy 195kg. Even though Chigishev has gained 6kg since the Olympics, he still weighs 15kg less than the other two lifters, but looks extremely strong and powerful (especially with his beard). Aleksanyan hit 195 for his second attempt all though he had to wrestle with the squat. Steiner lost his second attempt of 195 behind, much to his chagrin. He went for it again on his final attempt, but looked slow on the pull and never racked the bar. Aleksanyan called for 197 on his third and final attempt, but didn’t pull the bar high enough for a no lift. Chigishev lumbered to the bar for his second attempt of 200kg, and it almost looks like the bar flies out of his hands before he racks it. Easy second attempt for Chigishev. He asked for 205 on his third attempt, pulled the bar, racked it, and squatted it with some trouble, but it looked good for his third made lift. This was significant for Chigishev because he is only 6kg away from his best of 211kg, and he’s doing it 2 years out from the 2012 Olympics. Look for him to storm into those games looking for retribution for his missed opportunity in 2008.
The score sheet thus far…
Steiner — 190, 195x, 195x
Aleksanyan — 190, 195, 197x
Chigishev — 195, 200, 205
Looks like Chigishev is gonna roll with this one, right? Not so fast my friends…
Clean and Jerk
Steiner opened with a white lighted 230kg clean and jerk that seemed some where in the range of medium to heavy. Chigishev opened with pretty standard 235, although I would have expected him to be a little faster on the clean (the front squat was easy, though). Steiner calls for 236 on his second. The clean required some extra oomph but it was never in doubt, but he had to wrestle the jerk into place once he racked it. Nevertheless it was still good for a 2-1 good decision. Not to be out done, Aleksanyan hit 237 for his opener. The clean wasn’t picture perfect, but he rocked the piss out of his jerk. And here’s where things get a little hairy…
Chigishev came back out for his second attempt of 240, and he was ready to do work. You could tell he was going to hit his lifts and force the other two lifters to push it for a medal advancement. He cleaned the weight and started squatting it up when his thigh comes up lame. He missed the lift and would sit out for the rest of the competition. Chigishev was sitting on a 440 total. Ain’t too shabby, but now his European Championship was in jeopardy. Aleksanyan smells blood so he calls for 246 on his second attempt to go into the gold medal position. He has a victorious, yet tough clean, and then left the jerk out front. No lift. Aleksanyan follows himself to repeat the 246 on third attempt. This is fucking competition after all. The clean and front squat were equally painful, and then he held the jerk overhead for a wonderful instant…but he let it drift forward and he tried to hang on but it drove him into the ground. No lift. A valiant effort by the 20 year old who was crushed by his defeat.
But don’t forget about Steiner. He’s been watching in the back this whole time and has One. More. Lift. He had found himself in a eerily similar situation to the 2008 Olympcis. All Chigishev can do is watch from the warm-up room. The room is tense as Steiner approaches the bar. The clean is racked, and Steiner is stuck, seemingly pinned at the bottom. He battled with the bar, and by god Steiner is a fighter, and the crowd roared as he ground out a dead stop front squat with about 550 pounds. Steiner, who is known for his come from behind victory, knew he was close. He dipped, he drove, but it wasn’t enough. The bar fell to the floor as he agonized over his loss.
Clean and jerk results followed by total
Chigishev — 235, 240x, 440T
Aleksanyan — 237, 246x, 246x, 432T
Steiner — 230, 236, 251x, 426T
Nice lifting all around, and quite the drama in the clean and jerks. Good show.