History of Canadian Weightlifting

The Canadian Weightlifting Federation was first under the governance of the A.A.U. (Amateur Athletic Union of Canada) from 1947 to 1959. It was officially founded in 1960 under the acronym CWFHC and counts more than 3000 active members today.

Weightlifting has been an Olympic discipline since the first modern games in 1896. It is also featured on the program of the Commonwealth Games and Pan American Games.

Weightlifting movements, as we know them today, were first introduced at the 1928 Olympic Games. At these Games and all subsequent Games until 1972, there were three Olympic lifts, namely the press, the snatch and the clean and jerk. Beginning in 1972, the press was withdrawn to make the snatch and the clean and jerk the two movements of Olympic weightlifting.

For many years, weightlifting as a competitive sport was reserved for men. It was in 1987 that the first women’s world weightlifting championship was held. The first Olympic Games to feature women’s weightlifting were in Sydney 2000. Maryse Turcotte, Canada’s only female representative at this event, is the first Canadian woman to compete in the Olympic Games in weightlifting. She finished 4th in the 58 kg category.

Weight classes in weightlifting have changed many times throughout history. Today, men and women are respectively divided into 10 categories:

Women: 45, 49, 55, 59, 64, 71, 76, 81, 87, 87+ kg

Men: 55, 61, 67, 73, 81, 89, 96, 102, 109, 109+ kg

Canada had and still has many brilliant athletes. In 1952, G. Gratton won a silver medal at the Helsinski Olympics. In 1953, Doug Hepburn won the world championship in the heavyweight category in Stockholm. In 1984, Jacques Demers won silver in the 75 kg category at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Finally, weightlifter Christine Girard, who placed 4th at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and was a bronze medalist at the London Olympics in 2012, was awarded in 2016 the bronze medal for Beijing 2008 and gold for London 2012 following the late reveal of doping offenses by her competitors. These results make Christine the first Olympic champion as well as the first double Olympic medalist in Canadian weightlifting history.

To date, the best Canadian female and male performances in history are attributed to Christine Girard, with a total of 238 kg in the 63 kg in 2011 for a Sinclair score of 311.92, and to Boady Santavy, with a total of 384 kg among the 96 kg in 2019 for a Sinclair score of 432.47.