The monsters of weight lifting will take center stage on Tuesday, August 16th and it is our job to review the Olympic Super Heavyweight lifting odds and cash a ticket while they're breaking a sweat.
What's It All About?
So think of all the muscle-heads throughout the world and in gym's everywhere, owning more Gold's Gym tank tops than most stripper's have heels, flexing, preening and posing while the rest of us mere mortals skulk towards the treadmills and away from the barbells. Well, on Tuesday you will bear witness to the gods they worship, as the leviathans of the super heavyweight division get down to business. You will see as much snatch as you will clean and jerk (I didn't come up with the terminology but I do enjoy it immensely) due to the fact that both events are combined for a final score.
The Olympians are all in excess of 105 kilos or 231 pounds and will be lifting more steel than you'd find on a '77 Cadillac. But there are really only two contestants who stand alone while the rest will try to break free from their immense shadows. Iran's world champion Behdad Salimi Kordasiabi stands 6'6" and weighs anywhere from 365 to 405 pounds depending whether or not it's swimsuit season.
The other betting odds favorite hails from the nation of Georgia and he is the reigning World champion in the super heavyweight division. Lasha Talakhadze, the 2015 champ claimed his crown in November of last year without having the ominous specter of Behdad Salimi present. More on that later. But Talakhadze came out on top in the snatch event as he hoisted 207 kilograms in one fell swoop but came second to Mart Seim of Estonia in the clean and jerk segment, getting narrowly edged by Seim's 248 kgs to his 247 kgs. Nevertheless, his total of 454 kilograms clearly outpaced the field with Seim (438 kgs) coming a distant second and Gor Minasyan (437 kg's) of Armenia taking the bronze.
Behdad Salimi Kordasiabi, aka the "Iranian Hercules", will return to the Olympic stage to defend his crown after being sidelined over the past two years from international competition. Four years ago, in London, Salimi beat all comers with a total of 455 kilograms and is the odds-on-favorite to capture gold once again. Salimi is also a two-time world champion (2011 and 2012) but took second in 2014 before tearing an ACL during training which forced him to miss the World Weightlifting Championships in Houston last November.
Salimi currently holds the snatch world record (214 kilograms) in the super heavyweight class and recently returned to competition in preparation for Rio by winning the Fajr Cup in Tehran. At just 26-years-old there is virtually nothing that Salimi has not accomplished. However, he would like to continue winning gold medals and cementing his legacy as the greatest super heavyweight in history. Whether his knee has fully recovered from reconstructive surgery is another issue entirely and it could dampen his chances to repeat his London performance.
And the Olympic Odds Are...
Behdad Salimi -125
Lasha Talakhadze +110
Gor Minasyan +1200
Shih-Chief Chen +1800
Mart Seim +1800
Reza Barari Mohammad +2500
Walid Bidani +12,600
Though Salimi is the reigning Olympic champion I am skeptical of his knee and how it will hold up under the immense pressure of an Olympic event with other world class lifters pressing the pace. As of this moment, the world champion is Lasha Talakhadze and his 22-year-old body appears to be rounding into form for the main event.
This is a two-horse race but one of those ponies may never reach the finish line if his knee doesn't cooperate which is why I am siding with the reigning world champ at better odds in one of my betting picks in this event.
Free Olympic Pick: Lasha Talakhadze
Best Line Offered: at PaddyPower