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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | WEIGHTLIFTING

Wait Worth a Record for Tang

July 22, 1996

Tang Ningsheng of China was uncertain for several seconds his final lift was valid. So he held the bar over his head--and didn't let go.

Finally, one of his coaches raced to the weightlifting platform from backstage yelling, in Chinese, "Drop it, drop it."

Tang did, and the gold medal in the 130-pound division was his along with a world record.

"The middle light (indicating a successful lift) was not on," Tang said through an interpreter. "I just waited until my coach came and told me I had already succeeded. . . . I just kept waiting to find out it was a good lift."

Tang, 25, succeeded on each of his three lifts in the snatch and clean-and-jerk. His total of 677 3/4 pounds broke the mark of 672 1/4 pounds set by Nikolay Pechalov of Bulgaria in 1993 and gave China its first Olympic weightlifting gold medal since 1984.

His final lift of 374 3/4 pounds equaled the world record in the clean-and-jerk, and he needed it to win. Had he failed, he would have finished in a tie for first with Leonidas Sabanis of Greece at 672 1/4 pounds, but Sabanis would have won the gold because he weighs less.

Bryan Jacob, 27, of Alpharetta, Ga., finished ninth in the field of 20 with an American-record total of 600 3/4 pounds, eclipsing the standard of 595 pounds he set in April.

"I'm certainly pleased," he said. "I told everyone coming in that as long as I got a personal best, I'd be happy."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Medalists / Weightlifting

130 POUND

Gold: Tang Ningsheng, China

Silver: Leonidas Sabanis, Greece

Bronze: Nikolay Pechalov, Bulgaria

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