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Bulked-up Steiner competes for strongman title

Bulked-up Steiner competes for strongman title

Four years older and 88 pounds bulkier, Germany's Matthias Steiner enters his second Olympics craving the adrenaline rush of competing for the heaviest title in weightlifting.
The 24-year-old muscleman is among the front-runners for the gold medal Tuesday in the men's super heavyweight class, a title that carries with it the bragging rights of being the world's strongest man.
"I'm in good shape," Steiner said before a training session Monday. "I've had good training the last month. We are prepared for this. I think."
Steiner has overcome great adversity since placing seventh in the 105-kilogram category in Athens 2004, where he was competing for his native Austria.
He changed his citizenship to German after a falling-out with the Austrian Weightlifting Federation. Then last year, tragedy struck when his wife died in a car accident.
The hardship seems only to have helped him focus on the sport.
He placed second in the European Championships in March, only 1 kg (2.2 pounds) behind Latvia's Viktors Scerbatihs _ one of his main rivals on Tuesday.
Steiner went on to set a personal-best total of 451 kg (994.3 pounds) _ the weight of a small cow _ in qualifying for the Olympics. That's nearly 50 kg (over 100 pounds) more than he lifted as a regular heavyweight in 2004.
"Until Athens, I was always trying hard to lose weight (to stay below 105 kg). But I couldn't lose weight any more," he said.
That's a problem he no longer has to worry about since there is no upper weight limit in the super heavyweight class.
Built like a tank, Steiner now weighs 320 pounds, slightly more than Scerbatihs but less than Ukraine's Artem Udachyn, another medal contender.
He expected that a total of 455 kg (1,003 pounds) would be needed to medal in Beijing. The total score adds the heaviest weights lifted in the two events: snatch and clean and jerk.
That's a lot more than he takes in training, but Steiner said he cannot find the willpower needed to take the biggest weights unless he's competing.
"Some lifters take more in training, but I need the adrenaline of the competition," he said.
Missing from the competition is weightlifting legend Hossein Rezazadeh, who announced his retirement before the Olympics after doctors said his health was in danger. Also known as the "Iranian Hercules," Rezazadeh won gold in the past two Olympics and holds the world records for snatch, clean and jerk and total.
Steiner said he understood Rezazadeh's decision.
"He's quitting as double Olympic champion," Steiner said. "That's a good way to be remembered."


Updated : 2021-10-20 00:09 GMT+08:00