London 2012 Olympics: Weightlifter Zoe Smith breaks British record
Eighteen-year-old Great Britain weightlifter Zoe Smith breaks a British record at her maiden Olympics at London 2012
After a disappointing start to her maiden Olympics, weightlifter Zoe Smith heard her mum being interviewed in the ExCel Arena and burst into tears – she then promptly broke a British record.
With so much expectation heaped on the shoulders of an 18-year-old it was understandable that Smith was upset when she failed to lift 93kg in the snatch of the 58kg division, effectively ruling her out of contention for the medals.
But with her mum’s words ‘She will come back out, I feel so proud’ echoing around the arena, Smith found the emotional fire she needed to lift 121kgs – effectively twice her body weight – in the clean and jerk.
That was good enough for 12th place overall and a place in the history books for the teenager who was born just around the corner from Olympic Park.
“I feel like such a div, because my coach says never cry on TV or in a competition but then I broke down in tears,” she said.
“I was feeling pretty rubbish with myself at that point and then I heard them speaking about how proud they were of me and I just felt that I had let them down.
“I could hear my mum’s voice – you could hear it anywhere because she has a really shrill voice – and I just welled up. I suppose I am only human.
“I wanted that record and I would have been so disappointed with myself if I had finished on 116 clean and jerk.”
China’s Li Xueying won gold when she equalled the Olympic record by lifting a combined 246kg and setting the benchmark for where Smith needs to be in four years’ time.
But having had a taste of the Games, Smith is determined to continue her progress to the very top of the sport.
“To compete at an Olympics is a big experience for anyone but can you imagine how overwhelmed having this is in my hometown, my first Olympics, and I am 18,” she added.
“There are so many reasons it is a big thing for me and I am now getting ready for Rio. I did get a record, but next time I want to get an Olympic record.
“The plan was always for me to compete at 58kg, just for experience, because that is where I’ll be hopefully be winning a medal in 2016.
“It seems a long way off but I’ll have a lot more experience after the next four years and I do think I’m going to be able to bring it, come 2016.”
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