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Hossein Reza Zadeh

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Hossein Reza Zadeh

Hossein Rezazadeh
Personal information
Nationality  Iranian
Born (1978-05-12) May 12, 1978 (age 36)
Ardabil, Iran
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in) (2007)
Weight 152 kg (335 lb) (2007)
Sport Weightlifting
Event(s) Snatch, Clean and jerk

Hossein Rezazadeh (Persian: حسین رضازاده‎, born May 12, 1978 in Ardabil, Iran) is an Iranian former world and double Olympic champion in Olympic weightlifting. He is also a world record holder in the clean and jerk and is widely considered to be one of the greatest weightlifters of his era.


He is nicknamed "The Iranian Hercules". He currently holds the world record in weightlifting's super heavyweight class in the clean and jerk and total. He is the first Iranian athlete to have won two Olympic gold medals. He is also one of Iran's most noted celebrities, frequently appearing on television and in the news; his wedding, which was held in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca, in February 2003 was broadcast live on state television in Iran.[1]

In 2002 he was voted the "Champion of Champions" of Iran and was one of 16 Iranian athletes granted a badge of courage from Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. As a reward for setting a world record at the 2003 World Weightlifting Championships in Vancouver, Canada, Mohammad Khatami awarded him 600 million rials (a little more than US$60,000 at the time) to buy a house in Tehran. After his spectacular performance, he was offered by Turkey’s Weightlifting Federation a stipend of US$20,000 a month, as well as a luxury villa and US$10 million reward if he switched nationalities and won gold for Turkey at the 2004 Athens Olympics, but he turned down their offer. Rezazadeh rejected the tempting offer saying, "I am an Iranian and love my country and people."[2]

Rezazadeh surprised many at the 2000 Summer Olympics, earning a gold medal and breaking the decades-old monopoly on the gold by the Soviet Union and then Russia. His gold medal was the first since 1960 by a non-Soviet or non-Russian athlete in the over 105 kg class at a non boycotted Games. He has since broken his own records on a number of occasions leading up to his world record 263.5 kg (580.9 pounds) lift in the clean and jerk at the 2004 Summer Olympics. His total (both lifts combined) at the 2004 Summer Olympics of 472.5 kg was 17.5 kg more than silver medalist Viktors Ščerbatihs. He is the current IWF World Weightlifter of the Year, and was shortlisted for weightlifter of the century.

Rezazadeh's supremacy in the superheavyweight class has been virtually unchallenged in recent years. However, although he had not been pushed hard during his career, he was in pursuit of the all-time best IWF marks of 216.0 kg snatch (Antonio Krastev, 1987), 266.0 kg clean and jerk (Leonid Taranenko, 1988), and 475.0 kg total (Taranenko, 1988). Even though they exceed Rezazadeh's marks, these lifts are no longer the official world records due to the IWF's restructuring of weight classes, but they still remain as the heaviest weights lifted.

Rezazadeh is also referred to by weightlifting commentators as "the strongest man in the world", primarily due to his world records in the olympics.

In 2006 the Rezazadeh Stadium was built in Rezazadeh's hometown of Ardabil. It was built to honour the achievements of Rezazadeh and is one of the most modern and innovative indoor arenas in Iran today.

In early 2008 Rezazadeh participated in a television commercial promoting a real estate agency based in Dubai. His participation surprised many of his fans and was seen as demeaning to both himself and his country, given the promotion of buying estates in a land deemed as a rival. This eventually led to the decision of the Iranian Majles to ban any sort of sponsorship from any high profile Iranian - i.e. athlete, actor, singer - for any sort of product or service, due to the direct encouragement of product consumerism.[1]

In 2008, Rezazadeh was advised by Dr. Mohammad Ali Shahi, his physician and medical athletic trainer, not to participate in the 2008 Olympics due to his severe hand injuries and his high blood pressure. To his fans' surprise and disappointment he officially announced in a letter read via National Iranian Television that he had accepted the advice.[3] The next day Rezazdeh wrote another public letter announcing his retirement from professional weightlifting. He said "I am pretty sure that my fellow country men will repeat my accomplishments again and I hope my son Abulfazl will break my own records in future".

Immediately following his retirement Rezazdeh was appointed as the Prime Counselor for Iranian national weight lifting federation. However, instead of Rezazdeh, a young weightlifter Rashid Sharifi took part in 2008 Olympics gaining no place among the winners.

In September 2008, Rezazadeh was named manager and head coach of Iran's national weightlifting team.[4] In January 2009, he was blamed for positive results of the steroid tests of four Iranian weightlifters. Later on, one of the team members, Saeid Alihosseini accused him of using steroids in 2006.[5] Rezazadeh has publicly vowed to fight doping in Weightlifting.[6] He was elected as a member of City Council of Tehran in 2013 local elections.


Physical profile

  • Bodyweight: 162.95 kg (2004 Summer Olympics)[7]
  • Height: 6 foot 1 inch (1.86 metres)

Career bests

Major results

Year Venue Weight Record (kg) / Rank
Snatch Cl&Jerk Total
Olympics Games
2000 Sydney, Australia +105 kg 212.5 / 1 260.0 / 1 472.5 WR / 1
2004 Athens, Greece +105 kg 210.0 / 1 263.5 WR / 1 472.5 / 1
World Championships
1999 Athens, Greece +105 kg 206.0 WR / 2 242.5 / 5 447.5 / 3
2002 Warsaw, Poland +105 kg 210.0 / 1 263.0 WR / 1 472.5 / 1
2003 Vancouver, Canada +105 kg 207.5 / 2 250.0 / 1 457.5 / 1
2005 Doha, Qatar +105 kg 210 / 2 251 / 1 461 / 1
2006 Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep. +105 kg 202 / 1 246 / 1 448 / 1
Asian Games
1998 Bangkok, Thailand +105 kg 187.5 / 3 227.5 / 3 415.0 / 3
2002 Busan, South Korea +105 kg 200.0 GR / 1 240.0 GR / 1 440.0 GR / 1
2006 Doha, Qatar +105 kg 195 / 1 230 / 1 425 / 1
Asian Championships
1999 Wuhan, China +105 kg 200.0 AR / 1 230.0 / 1 430.0 / 1
2003 Qinhuangdao, China +105 kg 213.0 WR / 1 250.0 / 1 462.5 / 1
2005 Dubai, United Arab Emirates +105 kg 200 / 1 260 / 1 460 / 1
World Junior Championships
1998 Sofia, Bulgaria +105 kg 170.0 / 6 No mark No mark

Notes and references

Preceded by
New Award
Iran Sportsperson of the year
Succeeded by
Hassan Rangraz
Preceded by
Hassan Rangraz
Iran Sportsperson of the year
Succeeded by
Hadi Saei
Preceded by
Hadi Saei
Iran Sportsperson of the year
Succeeded by
Morad Mohammadi
Ehsan Haddadi
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