There's No One in the World Quite Like Lasha Talakhadze

The strongest Olympic lifter in the world put on a show for the ages to close out the competition in Tokyo. How he got that strong is no mystery.

There's No One in the World Quite Like Lasha Talakhadze banner

Main | Inspiring Olympic Physiques | Meet the Olympic Weightlifting Team | Shi Zhiyong's Dominant Lifting | Hidilyn Diaz Wins Gold | Caine Wilkes Preps for First Olympics | There's No One Like Lasha Talakhadze

Georgian weightlifter Lasha Talakhadze isn't just big. At 6-foot-6, 390 pounds, he's the biggest lifter in the biggest Olympic weight class—over two and a half times larger than undeniably jacked record-setting Chinese lifter Shi Zhiyong. And Talakhadze's lifts from the 2020 Olympic finals aren't just heavy, they're so heavy that women's 49-kg and 55-kg winners Hou Zhihui of China and Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines could add together their Olympic-record-setting totals… and they'd still be Diaz's entire body weight away from Talakhadze's total.

None of this was news to anyone. Not only did Talakhadze dominate the 2016 Rio Olympics, he also announced his arrival in 2020 by using medal-worthy weights in easy training lifts leading up to the competition.

The only question leading up to the event was whether "The Thoughtful Champion" would go for a 500-kg total—a downright respectable total for an amateur competitive powerlifter, let alone an Olympic lifter. Talakhadze stopped just short, totaling 488 kg with his 223-kg (491-lb.) snatch and 265-kg (584-lb.) clean and jerk, breaking all three world records. But watch the video, and you'll see he went six-for-six on his lifts and looked like he had at least another 12 kg (26 lbs.) in the snatch alone.

Yes, it's absurd. But how he got there isn't. Last year, Ukrainian lifter and former Olympic competitor Oleksiy Torokhtiy interviewed Talakhadze and his coach about the champ's training approach, and the main points he emphasized were the same as what you'll find in's guide, "How to Master the Olympic Lifts."

  • Focus on light weights to build skill, rather than maxing out all the time.
  • Take stretching seriously, particularly for young Olympic lifters.
  • Use targeted accessory lifts that support the big lifts.
  • Read lots of books and have a glass of wine every once in a while. (OK, that's not in the video, but Talakhadze has told Georgian media as much.)

Getting serious about Olympic lifting? Do it the right way with our expert guides: