Olympic lifters are, of course

Weightlifting drama: Steiner's wife shocked - "Sport is unimportant"

When the strongest men in the world determined their strongest, Matthias Steiner was already on the way to the hospital. Powerless and disappointed. On his second attempt at the tear, the bar slammed on his neck and the doctors pulled him out of the competition.

"Matthias has pain in his back", so the ad-hoc-Bulletin from team physician Dr. Bernd Wolfarth. "We had to take him out of the competition to rule out consequential damage."

Like a traffic accident

Dramatic scenes had previously taken place in London's Excel hall. After successfully lifting 192 kilograms in the first attempt, he also seemed to handle 196 kilograms with ease. But then the weight crashed into the back of his neck and pulled him to the ground. Steiner was lying on his stomach on the mat, then three helpers hurriedly held an Olympic banner in front of the lift stage in order to save the audience from having to look further.

Like a bad traffic accident - the relief was correspondingly great when Steiner got up half a minute later and raised his arm to give the all-clear. He was released into the cabin with an ovation.

Almost three times the weight

He had to skip the third attempt in the tear, which should have followed immediately afterwards, of course. But weightlifters are tough guys, of course, and an Olympic athlete lives for months, if not years. If the light was green, he would have continued. According to the first impressions of the delegation, Steiner had not suffered any harm, which is very lucky when you consider that due to the centrifugal forces almost three times the weight acts on the jack.

But with such sensitive high-performance bodies, the first impressions don't always have to be the right ones. "Further examinations are now necessary," said the doctor. "A vertebral injury is possible; if he continued it could have led to serious problems."

The comeback would have been pure hara-kiri

A comeback under these conditions would have actually been pure hara-kiri. At the beginning of the thrust, the second part of the weightlifting duel, Steiner's withdrawal was announced. Pushing is his stronger discipline. His first attempt was 251 kilograms - just seven less than he hit on his third attempt at his Olympic gold medal in Beijing.

The athlete and his trainer Frank Mantek, they had made no secret of this in the days before the competition, wanted to take a risk. Too Much Risk? Steiner, 29, had an extremely difficult time to prepare. Last fall he suffered a tear in the quadriceps tendon above the kneecap and was out of action for three months.

"It was a technical error"

This year various injuries and infections followed, after his second place at the EM in April he was in hospital for three days with back pain. "I'm not in the Beijing Constitution," he openly admitted. But although he could only lift a total of 410 kilos in both disciplines at his last meeting in June, he reported 443 right away with the first attempts.

The biggest exciters of the Olympic Games