TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's "Goddess of Weightlifting" has won the gold medal in dominating fashion, shattering three Olympic records and bringing her country its first gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
During the women's 59 kg weightlifting competition in Tokyo on Tuesday afternoon (July 27), Kuo Hsing-chun (郭婞淳) took the gold with 103 kg in the snatch, 133 kg in the clean and jerk, a total of 236 kg. In the process, Kuo, a member of the indigenous Amis tribe, set three Olympic records but fell short of her quest to break her own world record with her final lift.
During the snatch category, Kuo cleared her first attempt of 100 kg with ease. Her second lift was an attempt to break the Olympic record of 103 kg.
However, judges deemed that because her elbows were not perfectly straight, the lift did not count. Undaunted, she made another attempt and this time held perfect form to set a new Olympic mark.
In the clean and jerk, Kuo surpassed her competitors by lifting 125 kg. On her second lift, she confidently raised the bar with an Olympic record of 133 kg.
With the gold medal in hand, her final attempt was to break the world record of 140 kg set by herself in 2019. Her legs gave way, and she failed to complete the final lift but nevertheless set a third Olympic record of 236 kg for the two categories combined.
Taking the silver medal was Turkmenistan's Polina Guryeva, who lifted 96 kg in the snatch, 121 kg in the clean and jerk, and 217 kg overall. Japan's Mikiko Ando took the bronze with 94 kg in the snatch, 120 kg in the clean and jerk, and 214 kg combined.
Guryeva was overjoyed with her silver medal finish because it was not only her first Olympic medal but also the first in her country's history. Ando's bronze was also her first Olympic medal, having placed fifth in Rio de Janeiro.
Tuesday's victory marked Kuo's first Olympic gold medal, having placed sixth in London in 2012 and earned a bronze in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Kuo had a standout year in 2017, with gold medals at the World Weightlifting Championships in Anaheim, California, and the Summer Universiade in Taipei as well as a world record of 142 kg in the clean and jerk.
In 2018, she grabbed gold at the Asia Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, and topped it off with three records and two golds at the World Championships in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan later that year. She won three gold medals and set three world records at the Asian Championships in Ningbo, China, followed by two more golds and world records at the World Championships in Pattaya, Thailand.
In April of this year, Kuo competed in the Asian Championships, which had been postponed for a year due to the pandemic, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where she set two world records and captured three gold medals.
Video highlights of Kuo's competition:
Video of medal ceremony for women's 59 kg class weightlifting competition: