Gawker's Guide to Sports You're Pretty Sure Don't Exist: WeightliftingS

Welcome to the Gawker Guide to the Obscure Olympic Sports You Have Never Heard Of Or Given A Damn About. Today: weightlifting, also known as "the swords one," the 9th-most important Olympic sport and the one with the highest chance of spontaneous athlete vomiting.

What the hell is going on here?: One thing to remember is that weightlifting is not the same thing as hanging out at the gym and watching people work out. In weightlifting, there is scoring, and everyone is strong, and they never play Skrillex.

In Olympic weightlifting, men and women are divided up by weight class, and then given three chances each in two different lifts. In the snatch, the lifter takes the barbell from the platform to a locked-arm position above the heard in one continuous movement; in the clean and jerk, the barbell is taken to the shoulders in one movement, and above the head in the other.

The best scores — i.e., the largest weight — in each category are combined for the final score. In the event of a tie, the lifter with a lower bodyweight is declared the winner.

Cool reference to bring up during broadcast to impress your friends if you have any: "One kilogram is equivalent to about 2.2 pounds, so that 213-kilogram barbell is, uh... um. It's, uh. Like... four... hundred and, uh. Do you have a pen?"

Your prepackaged heartstrings/oh-no-he-didn't storyline:

  • Sarah Robles: Robles is a 23-year-old who's America's best chance at a weightlifting medal — but because of the obscurity of her sport and the fickleness of advertisers, she's been living off of a $400-a-month stipend and donations from family and friends while training for the Olympics. After several articles documented her difficulty, internet advertising company Solve Media stepped in as a commercial sponsor.

    Relevant inspirational video:


    Sport rating: 7. You have to be really strong and athletic, but, like, come on.

    Sex rating: 3. I'm sure freakishly muscled is someone's "thing" — but Google "weightlifting vomit" or "weightlifting poop" or "weightlifting prolapse." Actually, don't.

    Nerd rating: 8. Weightlifters are all anatomy and fitness nerds.

    Perfect for: Strong people.

    Where you can watch it: You can watch it tonight, at half-past midnight, on real NBC! And then at random times throughout the week on MSNBC and the NBC Sports network, formerly known as VS.