Memory Monday: There's (No) Crying in Weightlifting

In August of 2008, I was torn away from watching the Beijing Olympics by a trip to Italy. Bummer, right? :P For two weeks I traveled the entirety of the boot, catching snippets of the Games only when our tour guide gave us brief respites during the day. As you can imagine, this didn't happen often, but I'm lucky that Molly was kind enough to give me the remote every time it did. This way I was able to keep up in a very, very limited way. I have memories of seeing some sailing, some race walking, and Usain Bolt becoming the fastest human being in the history of ever.

Most vividly, though, I remember a German weightlifter.

Which city we were in has since faded from my memory, and the hotel room I was sitting in has become a generic, fuzzy sketch. But it'll be a long time before I forget this absolute monster of a man lifting hundreds of pounds above his head to win the gold medal, then dropping them and promptly bursting into tears as he pulls out a photograph.

Contextless, I was baffled.

Momentarily, it was explained. The man was Matthias Steiner, and the photo was of his wife. She had died in a car crash a year earlier. He had made a promise to her when she was in the hospital that he would win the gold medal. And, after two failed lifts, he did.

I watched the Incredible Hulk turn into a weepy teddy bear. To say it tugged on the heartstrings would be an understatement. Watching him clutch her picture as he stood atop the podium was the icing on the cake and irrefutable proof that you can't judge a book by its cover.

It's not every day a moment like this happens, and I'm so glad the universe conspired to get me in front of a TV for when this one rolled around.

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