TOKYO (AP) — Li Fabin embraced his inner flamingo with a unique stance on the way to winning an Olympic gold medal in weightlifting on Sunday.
But don't try it at home, the Chinese champion warned.
Li stood on one leg while lifting 166 kilograms — nearly three times his own body weight — with his right leg sticking out in his opening clean and jerk in the men's 61-kilogram category.
Weightlifting fans nickname that 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 through a translator. “I know this move pleases the audience but I don't suggest people make the same move. It could provoke injury.”
Li has done the move before at competitions, including at the 2017 Asian championships. He said he's no show off — calling himself a “low-profile person” — just one with an unusual talent for saving 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 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 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.
More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/olympic-games and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports