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How does the scoring system work in weightlifting at the Olympics?

Let us take a look how weighlifting is scored at the Olympics.

Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu

Mirabai Chanu (Source: IWF)


Abishek Sadanandam

Updated: 21 July 2021 9:25 AM GMT

Weightlifting has been part of the Olympics right from 1896, where the competition was entirely different from what it is today. At that time, it had two categories, such as lifting with one hand and lifting with both hands. Only after 1920, weightlifting became a regular feature at the Olympics.
In 1932, weightlifting was divided into three divisions such as press, snatch, and clean & jerk. It all changed in 1972, where the press was removed, and there were only two divisions that are being followed to date. However, the weightlifting scoring system and rules are the same as other weightlifting competitions happening on the global stage.

Let us have a look at the scoring system

  • There are two categories snatch and clean & jerk

  • Snatch: Need to lift the weight in a single motion

  • Clean & jerk: In clean, you need to lift weights to the shoulder level, and in jerk, you need to take the weights from the shoulder level to above your head and control the lift.

  • Each athlete gets three attempts to lift each weight.
  • Three judges are there to judge the lift
  • Lift is considered to be successful when the lift is in control and arms are stretched out properly during jerk.
  • If the lift is successful, white light goes off, which means that the lift was successful and other things to be noted, it is enough if two out of three judges give white light to award it as a good lift.
  • If the lift is unsuccessful, the red light goes off, and only that weight is recorded for that lift where the lifter got white light.
  • The highest weight lifted in the snatch and the highest weight lifted in clean&jerk is combined.

  • The rankings are made according to the highest combined weight value. If the person does not lift the asked weight in three attempts, he is deemed to get 'did not finish' next to his name and will be disqualified.

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