A weightlifter prepares to attempt a lift.
The strongest men and women on the planet can lift up to three times their own bodyweight during the course of an Olympic weightlifting competition.
The sport is the purest test of human strength around, but it also demands superb technique, as competitors attempt to lift a weighted bar from the ground and raise it above their heads.
There are two techniques seen in an Olympic weightlifting competition - the snatch and the clean and jerk - with both being performed with a barbell.
The snatch sees the barbell lifted above the athlete's head in one straight movement from the ground.
The clean and jerk, meanwhile, is a two-stage lift that enables the athlete to take more weight. The barbell is first lifted up to shoulder height on the 'clean' portion before then being 'jerked' to arm's length above the head.
Each athlete has three attempts, but for a lift to count at least two of the three judges must rule it successful.
While each competitor is allowed to lift the weight of their choice, they cannot reduce the weight following a failed attempt.
The winner of the gold medal is the athlete who lifts the heaviest combined total following the two different sections, and should there be a tie then the lifter with the lower bodyweight overall is declared the winner.
There are eight weight categories in total in the men's weightlifting competition at London 2012, ranging from 56 kilograms to over 105kg, while there are seven women's divisions, starting at 48kg and moving up to over 75kg.
At Athens 2004, Iranian lifter Hossein Rezazadeh clean-and-jerked a total weight of 263.5kg to take his place in the record books with the heaviest lift ever seen - a weight roughly equivalent to that of five fly weight Olympic boxers.