Don’t try this at home: China’s Li Fabin wins weightlifting gold with one-legged lift

Show caption Li Fabin moves to one leg during his clean and jerk at the Olympic weightlifting competition. Photograph: Ritchie B Tongo/EPA Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 Don’t try this at home: China’s Li Fabin wins weightlifting gold with one-legged lift Fans have nicknamed move the ‘flamingo’ lift

Li says shift to one leg helps him correct his balance Associated Press Sun 25 Jul 2021 13.22 BST Share on Facebook

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Li Fabin embraced his inner flamingo with a unique stance on the way to winning Olympic gold in weightlifting on Sunday. Just don’t try it at home, the Chinese athlete warned.

Li stood on one leg while lifting 166kg (366lb) – nearly three times his own body weight – with his right leg sticking out in his opening clean and jerk in the men’s 61kg category.

Weightlifting fans nickname Li’s move the “flamingo”. It’s a specialty for Li, who said it helps him correct his balance if a lift is in danger of going wrong.

“I have very strong core strength and muscles,” he said. “I know this move pleases the audience but I don’t suggest people make the same move. It could provoke injury.”

Li has pulled off the move before at competitions, including at the 2017 Asian championships. He said he is not a show off – calling himself a “low-profile person” – just one with an unusual talent for correcting a lift.

Li was head-to-head with Indonesian rival Eko Yuli Irawan for the gold medal. He followed up the flamingo with a successful clean and jerk of 172kg in a more conventional style, requiring Irawan to break his own world record in order to have any chance of winning.

Two failed lifts from Irawan later and Li was the champion with a total of 313kg. Irawan managed 302kg for silver for his fourth Olympic medal, more than any other Indonesian. He said it had been hard to compete at his record-setting best after his training was disrupted by lockdowns in Indonesia during the coronavirus pandemic.

Li gave China its second gold medal in weightlifting in Tokyo, keeping the sport’s major power unbeaten. Hou Zhihui won the women’s 49kg event.

Igor Son of Kazakhstan lifted a total 294kg for bronze but had a long wait to be sure of a medal. Competitors from Georgia and Saudi Arabia missed their final lifts before Son could celebrate with his coaches.