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New Bodyweight Categories for Paris 2024
According to sources, the Olympic sport of weightlifting will once again undergo a change in bodyweight categories, at least for the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris, France.
The new categories are shown in the following table:
The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) and its Athlete Commission have approved these proposed changes. The new categories are pending final approval by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IWF Athlete Commission had previously complained that the athletes’ input had not been sought relative to other proposed changes to the IWF (and other non-Olympic) event bodyweight categories.
At IWF and other non-Olympic events, a greater number of bodyweight categories make up the competitive program.
Over the past 30+ years, weightlifting has changed the athlete bodyweight categories numerous times. There have been various rationales for these changes, including the elimination of possible drug-tainted world records. Despite multiple changes, world records (and anti-doping violations) have continued.
In 2019 SportsEdTV featured a blog on the topic of frequent category changes. To access that blog, please see here.
What is the Sport’s Future?
In recent years the IOC has repeatedly expressed their concern with weightlifting and its history of anti-doping violations. Other allegations related to the IWF’s leadership and procedures have kept the sport in the IOC’s crosshairs. This has resulted in a fair amount of tumult as to the future of the sport within the Olympic family.
Meanwhile, other more popular, and perhaps “cleaner” sports have made their way into the Olympic program, sometimes permanently, sometimes only at a particular Games. Weightlifting has been in the Modern Olympic Games since the first competition in Athens, Greece in 1896. Over the years, the sport expanded to include many new bodyweight categories, along with the inclusion of female athletes into the program in 2000.
These steps have led to a general expansion of the number of lifters taking part in the Games, peaking in recent years with a quota of 260. However, in recent years weightlifting’s Olympic quota has continued to fall, as shown here:
One may consider that with 10 bodyweight categories scheduled for Paris in a little over two years, an assignment of 12 lifters per category could eliminate the need for multiple sessions within a weight class. Of course, that may impact the organizer’s ticket sales to non-A session competitions.
While weightlifting is on the program for 2024, it is not currently scheduled for the 2028 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, USA. The sport’s future in the Games may depend on organizational steps taken within the next year or two.