I was at the World Weightlifting Championships today in Vancouver and I can say that Hossein Reza Zadeh (of Iran) really blew my mind. To say that that is one strong guy would be understatement of the century. In case you don't know, he is the current world record holder and defending Olympic champion. He won EASILY. He actually won the gold just from his first attempt in the Clean and Jerk, so he used his second attempt simply as an excuse to try for the new world record. Unfortunately, he did not make it. That would have been a lot of fun to witness!
For those who do not know, Vancouver has a rather large Iranian population. The audience was absolutely filled with flag-waving, cheering, enthusiastic clapping Iranians calling out in support. The Germans also had some presence with airhorns, but the Iranians were definitely the largest, most vocal group. I found it really added to the excitement as each of Hossein Reza Zadeh's attempts were met with such love and fervor from the crowd.
With the exception of the fact that you cannot go ANYWHERE these days without people refusing to turn off their cell phone ringers and/or bringing their howling babies, I found the audience to be exceptionally civilized at this particular sporting event. Each lifter was greeted with enthusiastic applause, was granted a dead silent hush for his lift, and was then shown appreciation with warm applause after his attempt, regardless of whether he made the lift or not. Everyone was very exceptionally polite and well behaved, making sure they were seated during the lifts, not blocking views, etc.
The athletes themselves had great poise, and seemed very humble and thankful and like great sportsman. They shook hands with each other, and it looked sincere.
This was the super heavyweight (105KG+) that I was watching, so these boys were big. However, the athlete that made the biggest impression on me was (I believe) Evgeny CHIGISHEV of Russia. He was the one competitor that while being a super heavyweight appeared to be ripped.
Anyway, that's my 2 cents on a day at the world championships. It was quite exciting!