Pyrros Dimas, Photo: Lemur12.
Pyrros Dimas (Greek: Πύρρος Δήμας), born on October 13, 1971) is a retired Greek weightlifter, considered as one of the greatest of all times having been three times Olympic champion and three times World Champion.
Dimas was born in Himarë (Gr.), Albania, to ethnic Greek parents.
Victories with Albania
Dimas started the sport at 11 and competed at a juniores level at 14. At 18, in 1989, he became triple Champion of Albania for the 82.5 kg category and in 1990 he repeated himself.
In 1990 he was also accorded the title "Master of Sports" by the Albanian government and the title "European Master" by the European Weightlifting Federation.
He was part of the Albanian weightlifting team to which he made important contributions: In 1989 in the 62nd World Championship of Weightlifting Dimas ranked 12th in the World and helped Albania rank 13th in the world.).
In the 69th European Weightlifting Championship (held in Aalborg, Denmark May 1990), Dimas ranked 4th in Europe and Albania ranked 3rd (after 1st placed USSR and 2nd placed Bulgaria), and in the European Cup for nations (in Antalya, Turkey, December 1990) Dimas, Luan Shabani and Fatmir Bushi helped Albania rank 2nd in Europe (after 1st placed Bulgaria).
Victories with Greece
Dimas emigrated to Greece in 1991, at age 20. He acquired Greek citizenship in 1992, and first competed under the Greek flag in the 1992 Summer Olympics, winning the gold medal in the 82.5 kg class.
During his 202.5 kg lift at the clean and jerk, he shouted "Για την Ελλάδα!" (transliterated "Yia tin Ellada!"; meaning "For Greece!"), thus dedicating his victory to Greece. This is the catchphrase with which he is most associated in Greece.
At a time when Greek success at the Olympics was limited, he and Voula Patoulidou (the surprise gold medalist at the 100m hurdles) became instant national heroes. They were greeted as such on their return to Greece at a grand ceremony attended by more than 100,000 people at the Panathinaikon Stadium in Athens. His birthplace gave rise to his nickname "The Lion of Himara". His outstanding number of Olympic Gold Medals created another nickname "Midas".
Characteristic of his self-confidence was his tendency to keep the weights lifted after the buzzer had sounded so that the crowd could take photographs.
With the 1993 and 1995 World titles under his belt, Dimas was the favorite to win Olympic Gold in the 83 kg class at the 1996 Summer Olympics, where he was the flagbearer of the Greek Olympic team. He won the event with two new World Records.
At the 2000 Summer Olympics, he won yet another gold medal, this time in the 85 kg class. This made him one of just three weightlifters at that time to have won three Olympic gold medals, the others being Naim Süleymanoğlu (Turkey, but born in Bulgaria) and Kakhi Kakhiashvili (Greece, but born in Georgia). Halil Mutlu (like Süleymanoğlu, a Bulgaria-born Turk) would become the fourth in 2004.
At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, Dimas was again chosen as Greek flagbearer for both the opening and closing ceremonies. Dimas was recovering from knee surgery and a hurt wrist and was not expected to compete in these Olympics, but he came away with a bronze medal in the 85 kg class, becoming only the fourth weightlifter in history to win a medal at four different Olympic Games and only the third to win them successively four times, thus cementing his status as a national hero in Greece.
After earning the bronze medal he signalled his retirement by leaving his shoes on the platform, while the appreciative Greek crowd gave him a standing ovation.
In June 2008, Dimas became vice-president, and in October 2008 president of the Hellenic Weightlifting Federation.
Pyrros Dimas is married to Anastasia Sdougkou, a former Greek National Television (ERT) sports reporter. Together they have four children, Eleni (b. 1995), Victor (b. 1998), Maria (b. 2000), and Nickolas (b.2009).
* Snatch: 180.5 kg 1999 in Athens in the class to 85 kg.
1. ^ a b "Pyrros DIMAS - The most successful weightlifter". International Olympic Committee. http://www.olympic.orguk/athletes/profiles/bio_uk.asp?par_i_id=64877. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
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