Emotional Gold Medal Win for German Weightlifter at Beijing Olympics 2008

Chances are that you are not aware of Matthias Steiner unless you are an avid weightlifting buff. Well, this outstanding Austrian weightlifter, who is now a German citizen, had represented Germany in Beijing Olympics 2008. It was here that he did the impossible and won everyone’s heart with his emotional celebration.

Steiner was born in Vienna, Austria. He was exposed to weightlifting since his childhood since his father was a 20-time International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) – Masters World Weightlifting Champion. It was only natural for him to take up this sport and he started weightlifting in right earnest.

However, Steiner did not have it easy. He suffered from diabetes when he was only 18. He came to know of this when he lost 5 kilograms in three months. His eyesight also deteriorated. However, despite the odds, he continued with weightlifting and participated in many European and international weightlifting competitions. He ultimately won Austrian National Championship and remained a winner four times in the +105-kilogram category.

Steiner’s life took an interesting turn. As he participated in various weightlifting competitions around the globe, a German woman, named Susann, became his avid fan, simply by watching him participate on television. Desperate to meet him, she approached Eurosport commentators for his email address. They obliged and she emailed Steiner to meet her. They met in Lower Austria. It was love at first sight and they got married after a few days.

The couple moved to Germany, where Steiner applied for German citizenship. However, destiny did not have marital bliss in store for Steiner; his wife died in a tragic car accident, leaving him heartbroken. Susann always wanted him to do well, so after acquiring German citizenship, he continued his training despite this tragedy and began competing internationally. He had resolved to do her proud by winning an Olympic Gold.

Beijing Olympics 2008 became a life-changing event for him. In the weightlifting competition, he was pitted against Evgeny Chigishev from Russia and Viktors Ščerbatihs from Latvia who was the current European and World Champion and a hot favorite. Steiner had failed in his third snatch attempt with 203 kilograms and was ranked fourth. Then came clean and jerk. In this, Steiner failed in his first attempt and Ščerbatihs, who was poised to take the lead, too failed in his second attempt. Chigishev took the lead in clean and jerk with 205 kilograms.

To Steiner’s luck, Ščerbatihs also failed in his third attempt. Had he lifted successfully, it would have forced Steiner to lift 261 kilograms to win the gold. Now, Steiner only needed to lift 258 kilograms. He approached the barbell with steely determination and complete focus. With a mammoth effort, he heaved the weight up to his chest and paused for a few seconds to catch his breath. With another Herculean effort, he raised the weight above his head and tried to balance. He tottered a bit but managed to stabilize himself. He finally got the signal of a successful lift.

After this, it was a display of pure emotions. Steiner kissed and patted the podium floor, hugged his coach, jumped up and down like a kid, and removed his outer clothing to point out the German insignia embossed on his inner clothing to all. With a total of 461 kilograms, he won the most coveted Olympic Gold. He had fulfilled what he had promised Susann.

So, where is Matthias Steiner now? Well, he married a German television newsreader, Inge Posmyk, and is currently enjoying his life with her and their two kids in the countryside outside of Vienna. Matthias Steiner’s gold medal video on Instagram has garnered over 890,000 views.

Matthias Steiner

Instagram | Youtube

Via: Olympics.com


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