London Spy

Weightlifting gold decided by cup of tea

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Poland's Adrian Edward Zielinski poses with his gold medal on the podium of the men's 85Kg weightlifting competition at the ExCel venue at the London ...

Poland's Adrian Edward Zielinski poses with his gold medal on the podium of the men's 85Kg weightlifting competition …

Weightlifting is a sport of fine margins and when two athletes who have lifted the hundreds of kilos above their head can't be separated, the difference between gold and silver can come down to who ate the lightest lunch - or who did or didn't take a few sips of water.

When two competitors lift identical weights with identical times, the tie-breaker used is the athlete's bodyweight - on the basis that the lighter person has lifted a greater relative amoung - and on Friday an Olympic gold was decided in this manner in what was an incredibly cruel blow to the loser.

Poland's Adrian Zielinski and Russia's Apti Aukhadov both lifted 385kg in the men's 85kg category, but Zielinski was declared champion by virtue of being 130g lighter at the pre-competition weigh-in. That's about four and a half ounces, equivalent to a chicken breast, a small cup of water, or half a mug of tea.

"I ate a whole breakfast: boiled eggs and a little bit of porridge and for lunch I just had a small piece of chicken," said Zielinski, Poland's first gold medallist of the Games.

Aukhadov, meanwhile, had just that little bit more:

"I started my morning with muesli and nuts, that was my breakfast. For lunch I ate a chicken broth and then I ate a small piece of fish and I had my tea with a chocolate bar," he said.

Never in Olympic history will a competitor have regretted a cup of tea and a chocolate bar quite so much.

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