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130th Anniversary of the First World Weightlifting Championships

Exactly 130 years ago, the first world weightlifting championships was held in London in 1891. At that time, the organization of the event needed a shorter time as today as only 7 athletes competed from 6 countries. The first world champion was Edward Lawrence Levy from England. Only one gold medal was allocated as no weight categories existed that time.

Levy, 39, also won the very first British Amateur Weightlifting Championships two month before the London competition. During his career he set 14 world records. At the first modern Olympics, in Athens in 1896 however, he was no longer present as an athlete but as a member of the jury for weightlifting.

At the first World Championships only men competed, while the first world championships where women could compete was held in 1987.  The first joint world weightlifting championships where both women and men competed was organized only in 1991. This event was called 64th Men’s and 5th Women’s World Championships and was held in Donaueschingen, Germany.

To compare the first weightlifting championships with the last one which was held in Pattaya, Thailand in 2019, at the first one only 7 men competed with no specific bodyweight categories while in 2019 588 athletes – 313 male athletes from 84 countries and 275 female athletes from 79 countries – competed in 10-10 bodyweight categories.