Five days before the Olympics: Matthias Steiner’s incredible physical and life change, the most emotional gold in history

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The August 19, 2008 Matthias Steiner entered the gym of Beijing, breathed once, twice. The fixed gaze, the hyper concentrated mind. He stood in front of the Olympic floor where the weight of more than 200 kilos that he had to lift in search of a medal rested. He climbed up, placed his hands on either side of the iron, crouched down to take the correct position, stuck out his tongue, raised the cymbals, the stand, everything, and once above his head, he uttered a war cry. He knew then that he was an Olympic champion and he also knew that the misfortune of his life had been the impulse to get there.

It was in 2007, a day when he was training for the Olympic Games, when they called him to tell him what happened: his wife, Susann, had died as a result of a car accident. He just thought about leaving everything. When Matthias knew that he was an Olympic champion, in that unique and incomparable instant, he dropped the mass, knelt down, wanted to grab the straps of his bodysuit, grab his head, but what he was really doing was crying, he let all the anguish boil over , he threw himself to the ground in a kind of body to ground, he jumped up and hugged his coach. “It’s for you, Susann.”

The story of Matthias Steiner, Olympic champion in Beijing 2008.

“When I did the lift I knew I was an Olympic champion. It felt like a thousand chains had snapped on top of me and only then did I realize under the kind of pressure I had been through “, recounted in a series of reviews of Olympic stories, adding: “It was a tremendous emotion but nothing ended up being so pleasant because I wanted my wife to be there.”

Once at the top of the podium and with the gold medal on his chest, Matthias showed Susann’s photo. It was the Russian Evgeny Chigishev, winner of the silver (Viktors Scerbaths, from Latvia, got the bronze), who asked him who the woman in the image was. “She is my wife, she passed away recently”, I answer.

Almost 13 years have passed since that afternoon of glory for this weightlifter born in Austria, but nationalized German, and much has changed in his life. Today, Matthias lives in a country house located on the outskirts of Vienna. Along with him his wife, Inge, and their two children.

Today, life finds a Matthias, that boy who was diagnosed with diabetes, a picture that generated a series of worrying problems, turned into a man whose word wants to be heard. Because of his life history, because of his sporting side, because of that great history of being an Olympic champion, and because after his retirement as a professional athlete he was instructed in several other facets, which is why today he dedicates himself to public speaking on good body care and health. healthy nutrition.

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Matthias Steiner is a fitness and nutrition consultant, motivational speaker, but also a singer, dancer (with some qualms) and even a farmer, considering that he grows his own food on his farm.

“I am not a dancer. I have only participated in one dance show. Actually, it was a good opportunity to introduce myself in a different way because people still associate me with the weightlifter I was ”, The olympic channel responded about its different activities.

“If I have to define myself I will say that I am an entrepreneur in the food industry because that’s what i do for some years, “he said.

It was in 2013 when Matthias Steiner closed his stage as a professional athlete and launched himself into the food market. From those times of competition, when he received the hardest blow of his life, he was left with an apprenticeship that became his motto: “The most important thing is that I have to accept what I cannot change”, he told Olympic Channel.

“I learned that, for example, when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, of nothing. Those are things in which one should not wonder why this is so. I can ask why this is so, but I shouldn’t be interested in that moment because I can’t change it, ”he said.

How did weight lifting prepare you for life later?

-It is a sport without mercy, it is very difficult to progress. It is not as fun as soccer where you are part of a team. 22 men are chasing a ball and you don’t even notice the effort you’re putting in. In weightlifting, on the other hand, every time you touch the bar you realize that you are always alone, the weights are getting heavier. Everything hurts it’s just a long ride until it becomes fun.

How much weight have you lost since you retired from professional sports in 2013?

45 kilos But do not forget that I had gained that number during my career. Most people only see the effort of losing weight, but the effort of adding it is not noticeable even though it was more difficult than losing it. But that led me to become a fitness and nutrition expert because there is an obvious visual change that brings credibility and a lot of interest. Let’s face it, muscle or not, I weighed 150 kilos and ate accordingly. Yes, I trained accordingly and not only weighed 150 kilos; it was a huge weight that was not necessary for everyday life but only for elite sport.

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You spread a nutrition and fitness plan called Steiner principle, and it promises that people can feel good about themselves in 12 weeks. How does it work?

– It is not about a normal diet, but about providing people with basic information. What does nutrition do to me? What does movement do to me? How can I make small adjustments to lose weight and feel better? It won’t work if I come up with a plan that supposedly works for everyone. We all have a different problem that prevents us from living more consciously or healthier, but we also need to have the tools to transform our lives. We must know where the traps are. Some people do not eat much, but do not realize, for example, how much sweetened fruit juice they drink. There is a lot of hidden information but you have to start as close as possible. Exercise, for example, which is essential.

How do you train your brain?

The most important thing is to have a goal. I cannot become strong without having a goal. But having a goal is only one side. What is the reason behind having this goal is equally important. There are athletes who move for money, fame or simply to fight. Everyone has their own reason, their own approach. So, personal development plays an intrinsic role in everything. Having the right training strategy is one thing, but titles are won in your mind.

The history of weightlifting at the Olympics

Weight lifting in various forms has been popular for centuries. Strong men of all kinds routinely performed at various fairs in the Middle Ages. In the 19th century, they used to tour with carnivals or vaudeville shows. However, weightlifting as a sport was only organized in the late 19th century.

The governing body is the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), which had 192 member countries in 2020. The first governing body was founded on June 10, 1905 in Duisburg as the Amateur Athleten Weltunion, with four founding members: Denmark, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, but this organization did not last long.

The meetings during the 1912 Olympic Games ended at a congress held on June 9, 1913 in Berlin, where the Internationaler Weltverband für Schwerathletik was founded with nine members: Austria, Bohemia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Russia and Sweden.

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This organization was renamed International weight training association in 1920, but disappeared in 1923. All of these organizations governed not only weightlifting, but also boxing, tug of war, weight throwing, and wrestling.

The current federation was founded on August 23, 1920 during the Antwerp Olympic Games as the Fédération internationale haltérophile (FIH) and was the first and only person responsible for weightlifting. It was renamed the Fédération internationale haltérophile et bodyuriste (FIHC) in 1950, when bodybuilding was added, but was dropped again in 1968 and the name became Fédération Haltérophile Internationale (FHI). The current name was adopted in 1972.

Weight lifting It was in all editions of the Olympic Games except in the years 1900, 1908 and 1912. Originally there were no weight classes, just an open competition, and in 1920 and 1924 there were also one-handed lifts. The program has varied little except for the addition of more and more weight classes, until recent years when the number of classes for men has decreased.

Women made their Olympic debut in weightlifting at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, with seven weight classes. Starting in 1993, weight classes in international weightlifting have been changed several times, with a completely new set of world records. This is to eliminate the possibility that drug users have established prior records before stricter drug controls.

From 1928, The three Olympic lifts were standardized as the military press, the snatch, and the clean & jerk. Due to difficulties in judging the press, and because there was some concern that the lift was biomechanically dangerous for the lifters’ back, it was eliminated from international competition after the 1972 Olympics. Today, lifters compete only in the snatch and clean & jerk at the Olympics.

Weightlifting was dominated by the Soviet Union after its entry into the Olympics in 1952. In the 1970s and 1980s, Bulgaria challenged that dominance, although several of its lifters faced drug testing, especially in 1992. .

The United States was once a powerlifter, but has won only one Olympic medal since 1968 (and none since 1976), with the exception of the 1984 Olympics that were not attended by Eastern European nations.

In Recent Games, China has emerged as a strong nation in sports and, with 31 Olympic titles, it currently ranks second only to the Soviet Union. However, the four lifters who had won three Olympic golds represented Turkey and Greece: Halil Mutlu, Naim Süleymanoğlu, Pyrros Dimas and Akakios Kakiasvili (he won his first Unified Team gold in 1992).

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