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Greece's Kakiasvilis Earns Third Gold Medal

September 25, 2000|Associated Press

The third Olympic weightlifting gold medal came the easiest for Kakhi Kakiasvilis of Greece.

Forced to set world records on his final lift to win in the last two Olympics, Kakiasvilis needed only one attempt in the clean and jerk to win this time in the 207-pound weight class.

Kakiasvilis, who emigrated to Greece after winning in 1992, became the second Greek in as many nights to join Naim "Pocket Hercules" Suleymanoglu of Turkey as a three-time gold medalist. Pyrros Dimas won Saturday at 187 1/4 pounds.

"It is a great dream to have won three, because so many other great lifters got only two," Kakiasvilis said.

Dimas and Kakiasvilis each will try for a record fourth gold, with the home-country advantage, in Athens in 2004.

"I'm very happy with three, but my life is sports and I want to continue," Kakiasvilis said.

Kakiasvilis, trailing by five pounds after the snatch, lifted 485 pounds on his first and only attempt in the clean and jerk, then watched the rest of the field fail to overtake him.

Szymon Kolecki, the 19-year-old world junior champion from Poland, could have taken the lead by five pounds, but was forced to pass up an attempt at 507 pounds because of a shoulder injury. At that point, Kakiasvilis had two lifts left to overtake him.

Kakiasvilis and Kolecki each lifted total weights of 892 3/4 pounds, but the 31-year-old Kakiasvilis had a lower body weight. Alexei Petrov of Russia raised 887 1/4 pounds for the bronze medal.

Kakiasvilis, recovering from a rotator cuff injury since last year's world championships, also had shoulder pain and doesn't know if he could have made another lift if Kolecki had been successful.

"It would have been a risk for me to have attempted it, but I would have attempted it," he said.

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