Fans from home and abroad congratulate Chinese Olympic gold medalist Lü Xiaojun on record-breaking win in weightlifting
Published: Aug 01, 2021 07:01 PM
China's 37-year-old Lü XIaojun has broken the Olympics record and bagged gold in the men's 81kg weightlifting. This is the second gold on Sat for China and its 21st in total.Photo:Cui Meng/GT

China's 37-year-old Lü XIaojun has broken the Olympics record and bagged gold in the men's 81kg weightlifting. This is the second gold on Sat for China and its 21st in total.Photo:Cui Meng/GT

The record-breaking performance by 37-year-old Olympic gold medalist Lü Xiaojun at the Tokyo Olympic Games is being celebrated by Chinese, many of whom expressed surprise at the weightlifter's overseas popularity.

Lü set a new Olympic record after achieving a total score of 374kg (a 170kg snatch and a 204kg clean and jerk) and bagged gold in the men's 81kg weightlifting on Saturday afternoon, contributing the second gold medal to China that day and bringing the total count to 21. 

Yet another record is his age, according to media reports. Lü is now the oldest gold medalist in weightlifting after winning first place, followed by silver winner Zacarías Michel Bonnat from Dominic Republic with 367kg and Antonino Pizzolato from Italy with 265kg. 

"He is a winner who never gets old," said the CCTV commentator after the match ended.

Lü's performance has won the hearts of Chinese viewers who expressed their respect for his talent and efforts.

Lü is no stranger to breaking world records. 

In 2009, he broke his first world record with a total of 378kg in the men's 77kg match at The World Weightlifting Championships in South Korea and in 2012 he surpassed this record with 379kg at the same heavyweight match at the London Olympic Games.

"Lü Xiaojun has been peaking in his career for a long time. Many believe Lü has a string of extremely scientific methods for daily training. He barely got injured during training and still won the gold at the age of 37," said one online sports analyst.

Lü's history as a champion has also attracted the admiration of massive numbers of fitness enthusiasts and weightlifting lovers from around the world who consider Lü a role model for the sport. On Saturday, one of the referees was caught on camera asking Lü for his signature.

On social media platforms such as Twitter well-known figures such as Deng Xijun, Chinese ambassador to Association of Southeast Asian Nations, congratulated Lü after the competition finished.

Luke Thomas, a combat sports analyst with more than 120,000 followers on Twitter, also said in a Twitter post he appreciated Lü's performance during the event, "putting 450lbs [204kg] over your head is hard enough, but doing it by squat jerking requires ungodly balance and control."

Hollywood actor and a professional wrestler John Cena also congratulated Lü when he won gold during the 77kg event at the 2014 Asian Games, saying "congrats to Lü Xiaojun, Chinese super-athlete for his success at the 2014 Asian Games. Pretty amazing to watch."

Lü's training videos have been watched millions of times on YouTube, with the highest one, showing his daily training practices, earning a total of 4.29 million views. 

Videos posted by netizens on social media show images of Lü pinned to the walls at gyms. 

"It is quite a shame that Chinese barely know about him as Lü has been representing China at many world competitions," said an online weightlifting lover, "but I believe he's getting more popular within the country as this sport is becoming better known in China."

Born in a village in Central China's Hubei Province, Lü "showed his talent as a weightlifting athlete in primary school," Deng Minghu, Lü's training coach, told Jiupai News.

"I spotted him while he was still a boy participating in a sprint race in primary school. He ran very fast. I could see from his eyes and his appearance that he had a talent for weightlifting."
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