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Anyone who has been lifting for a while knows the special kind of choking, struggling-for-life feeling that comes with a max-effort front squat. You don't know that feeling, you say? Consider yourself lucky.

Now imagine that you're front squatting that weight—and then hoisting it overhead—in order to win your country's first-ever gold medal in 97 years…by a single kilogram…over the (up to that point) undefeated Chinese weightlifting team. You're starting to understand just how Hidilyn Diaz felt when she grinded out this Olympic-record 127-kilogram (280-pound) clean and jerk on July 30.

To be clear, the 55-kg lifter Diaz is no Johnny-come-lately; this is the 30-year-old's fourth Olympics, and she took silver at the 2016 games. But her road to Tokyo has been anything but smooth and predictable. For example, Diaz spent portions of 2020 training with water bottles on a bamboo pole while stuck in Malaysia during a COVID-19 lockdown.

"Stability and core na rin [too]," she says in the post. Caveat time: Watch Diaz squat, and it's clear that she's a master of the Olympic lifts: rock-solid in an overhead squat even with wiggling water bottles, and reaching ATG squat depth even in socks, with no high-heeled Olympic "lifter" shoes in sight. So don't expect to find yourself on the podium in Paris in 2024 merely by squatting jugs of Evian.

But definitely work on your form on the lifts with our expert-created Olympic lifting guides!

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