A young fan of the Olympics went viral on TikTok over the weekend while watching women compete in the 2020 weightlifting event. "The women are so strong!" the toddler said to (we assume) her parent. Wide-eyed and impressed by the competition, she continued: "Look at that pole! And strong hands, I wish I had strong hands." After emphasizing with even more awe that "they can lift heavy things, 'cause they are so strong," she started chanting for one of the lifters, exclaiming, "You can do it!" and later marched around the living room shouting, "She is the winner! She is the winner!"
The clip was posted on Saturday during the women's 49kg weightlifting event during which 24-year-old Zhihui Hou, representing Team China, took home the gold medal. But watching this toddler's reaction to the women's weightlifting event had us wondering: Why don't we talk about women who lift more? Because I, too, wish I had strong hands.
Women's weightlifting was included in the Olympics just 21 years ago, making its debut in 2000 at the games in Sydney. Loa Dika Toua of Papua New Guinea, the first woman ever to compete in the event at the Olympics, set a record on Saturday when she took the stage to compete at her fifth Olympic games. "It's an amazing feeling. You know, when you think about the Olympic Games, your dream is to go to one and maybe the second one," Toua said, according to The Washington Post. "I've never imagined in a million years I'd make it to my fifth."
Olympic weightlifters compete in eight different bodyweight categories for men, and seven for women. There are two categories of weightlifting events at the Olympics — the "snatch" and the "clean and jerk." During the snatch competition, Olympians pick up the barbell and lift it over their head in one motion. In the clean and jerk event, weightlifters first pick up the barbell to bring it to their chest where they pause. Next, the lifter will extend their arms and legs to lift the barbell over their head with straight arms, where they have to hold the weight until a buzzer sounds.
Weightlifters have three attempts at each event, and their best attempt at the snatch and the clean and jerk are added up. The lifter with the highest combined score — meaning the combined total weight they lifted in each event — is declared the winner. If two people score the same combined weight, the lifter with the lower bodyweight becomes the winner. If the competitors' bodyweights are the same, the one with fewer attempts becomes the winner.
Just to give you an idea of how much these weightlifters are lifting, China's Zhihui Hou took the gold on Saturday after lifting a total of 210kg, which translates to roughly 463 pounds, and broke records in each of the lifting categories. However, Zhihui Hou will be tested by anti-doping authorities. "She has been asked to stay in Tokyo and the test will be done. The test is definitely happening," a source told ANI.
Moreover, a lot of training must be required to lift a total of 463 pounds. Olympic weightlifters at the most advanced level train more than seven sessions per week, often training multiple times each day with one full rest day during the week. According to Team USA, Olympic weightlifters see increases in their strength "that are unequaled by any other form of athletic training."
In the words of the excited toddler, "I wished I had to be the strongest."