2012 medal projection update: Weightlifting

When we last attempted to project this sport, we were trying to guess which 10 athletes would be picked from each country. Those memories had been repressed for a while.

Now it’s a little easier. We have the final entry list with everyone’s qualifying weight. And when you consider weightlifting has no wind or mud that can affect someone’s performance, it’ll take a lot for us to go against the entry list. You might say the federation has done the heavy lifting for us.

(Hey, only two more posts to go. You can deal with another bad pun or two.)

Well, sort of. The qualifying weights don’t include the 2011 numbers, so we may take a peek at those as well. Especially when the Chinese lifters aren’t at the top of the 2012 list.

Also, if you’re going to be competing in London, you apparently can’t eat geraniums.

Away we go.


56kg: The qualifying list shows Vietnam’s Le Quoc Toan Tran at 292kg, then Azerbaijan’s Valentin Hristov (290) and Kazakhstan’s Arli Chontei (287). But if you look back to 2011, China’s Wu Jingbiao matched that 292 number. Was CHN-CHN-PRK; now Vietnam, China, Azerbaijan

62kg: Similar situation but much closer. The 2012 list has a three-way tie at 320 — North Korea’s Un Guk Kim, Turkey’s Erol Bilgin and Colombia’s Oscar Albeiro Figueroa. Kim also lifted 320 last year, but China’s Zhang Jie lifted 321. We’ll stick with China, North Korea, Turkey

69kg: Armenia’s Arakel Mirzoyan lifted 345, which leads this year and last. The top two on last year’s list didn’t enter, but we’ll keep an eye on No. 3 Lin Qingfeng of China, who recorded a 335 in January 2011 and is listed at 300 this year. Albania’s Briken Calja is second at 336, followed by a three-way tie at 335 between Romania’s Razvan Constantin Martin, South Korea’s Jeongsik Won and Azerbaijan’s Afgan Bayramov. Of those three, Martin is the youngest and still had the best lift (331) last year. Was CHN-ROM-ROM; now Armenia, Albania, Romania

77kg: Beijing gold medalist Jae-Hyouk Sa of South Korea improved from 360, good for third in 2011, to 375 this year. That’s No. 1 this year and equals the 375 posted by China’s Lu Xiaojun to lead last year. China has two lifters here, but that doesn’t include Su Daijin, who ranked second last year. Armenia’s Tigran Martirosyan was fourth last year at 356 and second this year at 365. The only other people at 360 are higher are Albania’s Hysen Pulaku and Egypt’s Ibrahim Ramadan Ibrahim. Was ARM-CHN-EGY; now South Korea, China, Armenia

85kg: Four lifters have passed the top mark (385) of last year. Iran’s Kianoush Rostami is at 395. Then three at 390: Iran’s Sourab Moradi, Azerbaijan’s Ivan Stoitsov and Belarus’ Andrei Rybakou. The USA’s lone male weightlifter is here — Kendrick Farris has lifted 355. We don’t have a lot of information to break the tie, but Moradi and Rybakov also had good performances last year. Was POL-RUS-BLR; now Iran, Iran, Belarus

94kg: Can Kazakhstan’s Ilya Ilyin defend his Olympic title? He had the best performance (407) last year and is a close second (409) this year behind Moldova’s Anatoli Ciricu (410). Iran’s Saeid Mohammadpourkarkar was third last year (402) and shares third this year (405) with Azerbaijan’s Intiqam Zairov and South Korea’s Min-Jae Kim. Then Ukraine’s Artem Ivanov is one pound back at 404, having cleared 407 (tied with Ilyin) last year. So this is a little muddled. Was RUS-UKR-ROU; now Moldova, Kazakhstan, Iran

105kg: The top four this year are Poland’s Marcin Dolega (430), Ukraine’s Oleksiy Torokhtiy (425), Georgia’s Gia Machavariani (425) and Iran’s Navab Nasirshelal (421). But then we have three guys worth considering, all tied this year at 420. Russia’s Khadzhimurat won the world title last year with 430, followed by Olympic silver medalist and fellow Russian Dmitry Klokov at 428. The other guy at 420 this year is the defending Olympic champion, Andrei Aramnau of Belarus. Was Poland, Russia, Ukraine

105+kg: Iranian giant Behdad Salimkordasiabi ran away with the world title last year at 464. He tops this year’s list at 455, with fellow Iranian and world runner-up Sajjad Anoushiravani Hamlabad next at 450. Ukraine has Artem Udachyn at 445 and one of the four guys tied at 440. (Others are from Russia, Azerbaijan and South Korea. Was IRI-GER-UKR; now Iran, Iran, Ukraine


48kg: Chinese teenager Tian Yuan ran away with the world title last year at 207kg. Not sure why we mentioned that, because she won’t be there. Neither are the other two Chinese lifters among the top four performances last year. The other lifter in the top four last year was Turkey’s Nurcan Taylan, who … also won’t be there. This year, Thailand’s Panida Khamsri is tied at 200 with yet another Chinese lifter, Wang Mingjuan. Then Japan’s Hiromi Miyake has a slight edge over another Thai lifter. Was TUR-CHN-TUR; now Thailand, China, Japan

53kg: We’re a little disappointed not to see the name of Olympic champion Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon on the entry list. Kazakhstan teenager Zulfiya Chinshanlo took the world title at 227 last year, and she’s listed with the same total this year. World runner-up Aylin Dasdelen of Turkey is second at 225. The next two — Moldova’s Cristina Iovu and Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Shu-Ching are next at 220, and no one else is close. China didn’t enter. Was CHN-KAZ-THA; now Kazakhstan, Turkey, Chinese Taipei

58kg: Chinese teenager Deng Wei had the best lift in the world last year at 243. You know this story. She’s not on the team. China did enter world runner-up Li Xueying, who lifted 236 at Worlds last year to finish second behind Belarus’ Nastassia Novikava (237). Novikava has done even better this year, lifting 240. Chinese Taipei teenager Kuo Hsing-Chun is next at 233. Thailand’s Pimsiri Sirikaew was third at Worlds at 230, and she’s listed at 230 this year. Was CHN-BLR-PRK; now Belarus, Chinese Taipei, Thailand

63kg: We have only seven lifters on the entry list. One of them is nearly 40kg behind everyone else. So the others arguably have a 50-50 chance of medaling. Three stand out. Maiya Maneza (Kazakhstan) was the world runner-up and tops the list this year at 255. Svetlana Tsarukaeva (Russia) matched that total to win the world title last year. Turkey’s Sibel Simsek is second this year at 250.  The second tier is led by Canada’s Christine Girard, who lifted 238 last year. Bulgaria’s Milka Maneva is at 235. Was KAZ-TUR-KOR; now Kazakhstan, Turkey, Russia

69kg: Russian silver medalist Oxana Slivenko won Worlds last year by lifting 266, just enough to edge out China’s Xiang Yanmei. Xiang  won’t be competing here, so the biggest challenges are likely to come from world leader Roxana Daniela Cocas (Romania, 255kg this year) and Jong Sim Rim (North Korea, 252). Three lifters are at 250, two from Belarus. Was RUS-ARM-COL; now Russia, Romania, Belarus

75kg: Another case of last year’s leader, Russia’s Natalya Zabolotnaya, not being in the Olympic competition. But fellow Russian and 2008 bronze medalist Nadezhda Yevstyukhina, who won the world title last year with a total of 293, will be here. This year’s leader, Kazakhstan’s Svetlana Podobedova, is at 290. No one else is close, and we should see a battle for bronze between Belarus’ Iryna Kulesha (265 this year) and Spain’s Lidia Valentin Perez (262 this year, 264 last year). Was KAZ-RUS-RUS; now Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus

75+kg: Americans Sarah Robles and Holley Mangold will get plenty of press, but they’re way down the entry list. Robles’ best total of the past two years is 258; Mangold’s is 255. This year’s world leader, Russia’s Tatiana Kashirina, is at 300. Last year, Kashirina lifted 327 but was only second on the list behind China’s Zhou Lulu (328). This year, for some reason, Zhou is listed at the more modest 250. The other contenders, all with their best lifts on the entry list: South Korean gold medalist Mi-ran Jang (290), Egypt’s Nahla Ramadan Mohamed (285), Nigeria’s Mariam Usman (282) and Armenia’s Hripsime Khurshudyan (280). Was RUS-KOR-CHN; now Russia, China, South Korea


  1. Hi Beau,

    Your great site got me thinking. I think you should do a diagnostic of your predictions after the games. It seems to me that the major variables in any prediction are recent form (2012) and recent performance in major events (2011 world championships). You seem to focus mostly on the latter. I wonder if you could create an excel spreadsheet where you play around with the relative weight of these two factors and see which model is the best predictor.

    It would work like this. Let’s say men’s high jump. You rank the performers on 2012 best height. 1-10. 10 points given to 1st, 9 to 2nd, etc. (basic version) For sports without a number for performance (like judo) you can use 2012 rankings (you wouldn’t be able to use federation rankings that last more than 1 year for this – you would have to calculate your own based only on 2012 performance). If you want to get fancy, you can adjust the numbers if there is a big difference between heights. So if the top guy is at 2.35 and the second is 2.31, the gap between first and second should be more than 1 point. The same goes for rankings: if one athlete has way more ranking points than the other, he/she would get more points in your model. (advanced version) Anyway, let’s stick to the basic version. Then you would rank the athletes based on Olympic Date – 1 yr World Championship performance. You could also try a model with the past two world championships and see how it compares to the only one world championship model. So each athlete gets two scores – one for 2012 performance or ranking and one for 2011 World Championship performance (or 2011+2010 WC performances) Then you would play around with the relative weights of each variable to see which weights give you the best predictions. You could then use those weights for your predictions in 2016. The one kink in the system is that you would have to find a way to account for injuries in past world championships. You could give a 100% weight on 2012 performance for athletes injured in 2011 world championships.

    Anyway, this would be a lot of work, but I think since you have the best Olympics prediction site (as far as I know) in the world (I am not counting those weird models for overall medal counts – which I don’t think are that interesting), it makes sense to kick it up a notch the next go-around.

    I’ll try to come up with a spreadsheet for one sport and send it to you.

  2. You are way off in your predictions. Go look up the Chinese lifters’ best results for 2012, you have seriously underestimated the medal prospects of this traditional weightlifting powerhouse. If your predictions for the rest of the sports is similar to this, you will not be close.

  3. When did the lifters post these results? They weren’t on the entry lists that I cited above. Generally, the 2011 Chinese results are much better than the 2012 results, and I tried to project their medals on the assumption that they would come close to their 2011 marks.

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