Lu Xiaojun – Olympic Weightlifting

You’d be forgiven if you mistook Lu Xiaojun for a superhero. His armour-plated physique is a trademark of his brand.

Lu is a Chinese weightlifter of the highest calibre. He claimed gold at the 2012 Olympic games while also capturing three world championships along the way in the 77kg class. Lu claimed silver at the Rio games where he was pipped thanks to a world record effort by Nijat Rahimov of Kazakhstan.

Take a look at Lu’s background and you’ll notice factors which have contributed to his impressive accomplishments.

Genetics

It would be naive to think genetics don’t play an important part in athletic development. The way an individual is built facilitates success in certain endeavours and difficulty in others.

Before weightlifting, Lu was a sprinter, with the 200m and 400m being his forte. This suggests a predisposition to power. Lu likely possesses a high proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibres, allowing him to generate massive amounts of force required for the Olympic lifts.

As a child, strength came easily to Lu. His mother reported he was able to easily shift loads which others would struggle with.

Strong values

Growing up in rural China provided Lu with a solid grounding. Farm living instilled in him high levels of determination, the ability to endure hardship and withstand hard work.

Lu viewed his childhood as the cornerstone of his future success.

Support network

No one makes it on their own.

Despite living in poverty, Lu was sent to a provincial boarding school due to his prodigious talent. His family provided him with an opportunity to pursue excellence.

Financial hardship continued to plague Lu and his family. At one stage, Lu almost gave it all up. His family’s farm was under threat and could have used the money which was paying for his tuition. Lu’s coach, Dengling Hu, wouldn’t allow it but recognised something needed to change. He made arrangements for Lu to move to a different school which not only required less funding but also provided him with greater opportunities to progress as a lifter. Success soon followed.

With his body bruised and battered, Lu quit the national team in 2006. Two years passed when he was approached by Yu Jie. He wanted to coach Lu. The two were a near-perfect match and a partnership was formed. Their understanding of one another was a key component to the success which followed, culminating in Olympic gold.

Deeper meaning

For Lu, weightlifting was more than a sport. It was a pathway out of poverty for him and his family. The sacrifices his parents made instilled a deep level of gratitude. He was determined to pay his debt.

Initially it began with small contributions. After a tournament, Lu would send the winnings to his family. As his star continued to rise, so did his contributions.

After the London Olympics in 2012, Lu returned to his home town. He was intent on helping the impoverished community, and in particular the children, aiding in areas like home construction. To provide ongoing support he founded the ‘Love Fund’. It is believed he plans to auction his gold medals with the proceeds going towards this fund.

Lu be continued?

Genetics, strong values, a loving support network and a deeper meaning behind the sport all formed part of the Lu’s recipe for success.

At 32 Lu’s future is unclear, he is unlikely to make it to the next Olympic Games. Perhaps he’s aiming his sights for one more world championship gold. This would be a fitting way to end his already impressive lifting career.