Never Before Seen: Olympic Champion Ilya Ilyin Attempts 247KG Unofficial World Record Clean & Jerk

Two hundred forty-seven kilograms, or 544.5 pounds, is the weight of the barbell in a Jan. 8, 2024 video posted to Instagram by Kazakh weightlifter and former two-time (2008, 2012) Olympic Champion Ilya Ilyin. According to Ilyin, the video depicts one of his heaviest training sessions ahead of the 2015 President’s Cup in Grozny, Russia. 

Although Ilyin was unsuccessful in his attempt to clean & jerk the massive weight — at the time, the lift was a full five kilograms above his own world record — the footage represents a rare glimpse into a bygone era of Olympic lifting that fans will likely never see again: 

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According to insidethegames, Ilyin retired from competitive weightlifting in early 2020 after news broke that the Tokyo Olympic Games, originally scheduled for that summer, had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before that, he was considered the most dominant active male weightlifter in the world for many years due to his unparalleled strength and tenacity on the platform. 

In Context: Ilya Ilyin’s Weightlifting Career

It’s common for weightlifters to perform better in their general training than on competition day, as the rigors of international weightlifting events can be quite stressful. At the time, Ilyin’s best official result in the clean & jerk was 242 kilograms, a world record he had hit one year before winning the 2014 World Weightlifting Championships in his home country of Kazakhstan. 

Ilyin was as close to a true prodigy as a weightlifter could get. He won his first Senior World Championships at just 17 years old in 2005 and, for a full decade, was undefeated in competition: 

2005 Junior World Weightlifting Championships: 1st | 85 kilograms

2005 World Weightlifting Championships: 1st | 85 kilograms

2006 Junior World Weightlifting Championships: 1st | 94 kilograms

2006 World Weightlifting Championships: 1st | 94 kilograms

2008 Olympic Games: 1st* | 94 kilograms

2010 Asian Games: 1st | 94 kilograms

2011 World Weightlifting Championships: 1st | 94 kilograms

2012 Olympic Games: 1st* | 94 kilograms

2014 World Weightlifting Championships: 1st | 105 kilograms

2015 President’s Cup: 1st | 105 kilograms

*Ilyin was sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee in Nov. 2016 for performance-enhancing drug usage at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. He forfeited both of his gold medals as a result. 

At the President’s Cup in Grozny in Dec. 2015, Ilyin would end up clean & jerking 246 kilograms in the 105-kilogram division, a four-kilogram advancement on his own world record and the final record of his career. Ilyin took a three-year hiatus from the sport afterward and attempted to reignite his career in 2018; he never made it back to the top of the weightlifting podium before formally retiring in 2020.

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How would this 247-kilogram clean & jerk attempt stack up against the best heavyweight lifters today? The gold-medal clean & jerk in the 109-kilogram class from the 2023 World Weightlifting Championships was 227 kilograms, by Uzbek athlete Ruslan Nurudinov (Nurudinov also holds the current world record in that category of 241 kilograms). Two hundred forty-seven kilograms would have ranked Ilyin in fourth place against the +109-kilogram super-heavyweight athletes at that same event. 

Post-retirement, Ilyin retains a strong fanbase on social media and, despite his PED-related disqualifications, is regarded as one of the best weightlifters of all time. Archived footage of lifts like this proves why. In the caption of the video, Ilyin remarks: 

“[An] unsuccessful attempt, but such weight is only lifted once in a lifetime. [I think] this was my favorite clean in my life!”

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Featured Image: @ilyailyinforever on Instagram

The post Never Before Seen: Olympic Champion Ilya Ilyin Attempts 247KG Unofficial World Record Clean & Jerk appeared first on BarBend.


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