I just met him and had a discussion with him about a month ago. He is a very articulate guy and a great ambassador for the sport in Greece. He is now president of the weightlifting federation and he is doing a great job promoting the sport. Unless you see him in person, you don't realize his genetic make up.
He is rather short (1.73m) and he just seems built for the sport. He is no longer in his top lifting form days having gained a few kilos but still looking good, he says he plays soccer once per week and lifts on a per feel basis being very busy with a hands on running management style of his organization.
Don't underestimate the mind issue. The guy made some right choices. However, to answer the initial question, he told a public television during a televised interview session a few minutes before our discussion that he credited his success to a) being blessed with the genetics for the sport b) being discovered by a great person i.e. his original coach back in Albania at a young age c) his parents and especially his father who made sacrifices for him to train and d) to persistence.
As an anecdote of the latter, he told that when preparing for his last Olympics it was so difficult that he packed up his stuff left the Olympic training center in Athens and went home (to Thessaloniki) 4 times. Each time, he said, he turned around at the door and went back to the gym. He was already an icon in Greece and already had financially secured his future. However, he said, how many times does an athlete have the opportunity to compete in his home? So he bit the bullet and went back each time with the ultimate honour of having won another medal in four Olympics this time in front of his home crowd.
What does that tell you? Add, e) as having the tenacity of a winner, a true champion who honored our sport.
There you have it, there are other genetic anomalies out there and many more have been , but how many make it to this level?
Fortunately, we can still hope to look forward to other such athletes.