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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | WEIGHTLIFTING

Russian Prevails After Beating Ban

July 28, 1996

Two months after a girlfriend's confession led to the lifting of his lifetime ban from the sport, Alexei Petrov of Russia is an Olympic gold medalist.

Petrov had best lifts totaling 887 1/4 pounds in the snatch and clean-and-jerk to win the 200 1/2-pound competition.

Leonidas Kokas of Greece won the silver medal by lifting 859 3/4 pounds.

Oliver Caruso of Germany won the bronze by lifting the same weight, but Kokas was placed ahead because of lighter body weight.

Petrov won the 1995 world championships by 44 pounds, but tested positive for a banned substance and drew a lifetime suspension from the International Weightlifting Federation.

But a former girlfriend later confessed in writing that she had slipped the substance into his food, and the IWF rescinded the ban.

"I trusted in the federation's fairness and they were fair," Petrov said. "The truth won."

Asked his reaction to those who found the story difficult to believe, Petrov said, "This is a fact. Everyone can say whatever they want."

But Caruso said he found the story "a little incredible."

Tom Gough of Fairfax, Calif., finished 14th despite eclipsing his own American records in the snatch at 369 1/4 pounds, clean-and-jerk at 440 3/4 pounds and total at 810 pounds.

"I wanted more. I wasn't as interested in records as much as finishing as high as possible," Gough said.

Petrov all but wrapped up the gold medal by surpassing his own world record in the snatch, lifting 413 1/4 pounds.

The lift gave him an 11-pound lead on the field, and he clinched the gold by lifting 473 3/4 pounds on his first attempt in the clean-and-jerk.

Petrov later tried and failed to set records in his final two clean-and-jerk lifts, which also would have enabled him to break the record for total lift.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

MEDALISTS

Weightlifting

201 POUNDS

Gold: Aleksey Petrov, Russia

Silver: Leonidas Kokas, Greece

Bronze: Oliver Caruso, Germany

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