Om Yun Chol wins weightlifting gold

LONDON -- It was a big record for a little guy.

North Korea's Om Yun Chol, all of 5 feet and 123 pounds, won a gold medal by confidently lifting an Olympic-record 370 pounds in the clean and jerk Sunday at the London Games.

That was more than three times his body weight, something only a handful of others have ever done.

How unlikely was the upset victory?

Om was in the "B" group with lower-ranked competitors and lifted weights of 160 and 165 kilograms on his first two attempts early in the day. He got the crowd roaring when it was announced he would go for 168 kilograms -- the Olympic record.

"I wanted to lift a big weight and make the other athletes nervous," Om said.

It worked.

As the "A" group entered the platform later Sunday, double world champion and pre-competition favorite Wu Jiangbiao of China lifted 133 kilograms in the snatch to gain an 8-kilogram lead over Om.

But Wu's 156-kilogram clean and jerk wasn't enough to beat the North Korean's total of 293 kilograms, and he had to settle for the silver. European champion Valentin Hristov of Azerbaijan got the bronze.

Om's successful lift broke the mark of 167 kilograms set by Halil Mutlu of Turkey in Sydney in 2000.

Among the few lifters who have cleared three times their body weight are Mutlu and Naim Suleymanoglu, also of Turkey and known as the "Pocket Hercules."

Om gave all the credit to Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader who died last year.

"How can any man possibly lift 168kg?" Om was quoted as saying by the internal Olympic News Service. "I believe the great Kim Jong Il looked over me."

North Korean athletes have routinely praised Kim and the North Korean people whenever they win gold medals.

Also Sunday, North Korea got its first gold medal of the London Games when An Kae Um defeated Acosta Bermoy of Cuba in the women's judo 52-kilgram category.