Two athletes to shoulder Team Canada’s weightlifting hopes

Maude Charron and Boady Santavy will shoulder Canada’s weightlifting hopes at Paris 2024 as the two athlete nominated to Team Canada in the sport.

Luckily for Team Canada, Charron, the Tokyo 2020 gold medallist, and Santavy, who placed fourth at Tokyo 2020 have pretty strong shoulders on which to carry the load.

Charron took the top spot on the podium at Tokyo 2020 in the women’s 64kg weight class after lifting a total of 236kg. But life has not been without challenges for Charron since that high point. 

The 64kg weight class was removed from the Olympic programme for Paris 2024, compelling Charron to transition to the lighter 59kg category–no small feat for a sport that is dependent on one’s weight to strength ratio. Undeterred, Charron won her second Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2022, setting records for the snatch, clean and jerk, and total weight in the 64kg event, while she was already cutting down her body weight to transition to the 59kg class.

At her first international competition in the 59kg class–the 2022 IWF World Championships–Charron snagged a bronze medal while setting national records in the snatch and clean and jerk. She followed this performance up with a gold medal at the 2023 Pan American Championships. After taking some time to rehab a knee injury, Charron returned to international competition with a silver medal in the 59kg class at the Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games.

Maude Charron holds up her silver medal and Pan Am mascot on the podium
Maude Charron of Canada celebrates after winning a silver medal in the women’s 59kg weightlifting category during the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games on Sunday, October 22, 2023. Photo by Andrew Lahodynskyj/COC

In March, Charron achieved one of her most impressive accomplishments yet, lifting 236kg at the IWF World Cup–the same total that she hoisted to win the Olympic gold medal–while weighing 4.36kg less than during her Olympic performance.

“I’m thrilled to represent Canada once more at these Olympic Games,” said Charron. “I’m looking forward to enjoying every moment to the fullest with my coaches, my parents and my friends.  We are only two on the team to represent our sport and our country and we will do our very best to make Canadians proud.”

Santavy comes from a line of weightlifters that includes his Olympian grandfather Bob and his father Dalas who competed at the Pan Am Games and world championships. In his Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, Santavy missed the podium in the 96kg class by one kilogram. Santavy had won the snatch portion of the competition by one kilogram. That was the best finish by a male Canadian weightlifter at the Olympic Games since 1984.

Canadian weightlifter Boady Robert Santavy competes in the Men’s 96kg clean & jerk during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Saturday, July 31, 2021. Photo by Andrew Lahodynskyj/COC

“Generations of weightlifters have gone before me and I am proud to raise the bar for Canada,” Santavy said. “I have been through the fire to reach the pinnacle of the Olympic games and I will not let Canada down. I will take the platform in Paris with pride, knowing that my life is my message and my strength comes from a higher power.”

Canadian athletes have won five Olympic weightlifting medals, including the gold won by Charron at Tokyo 2020. Canada’s most decorated Olympic weightlifter is Christine Girard, who won 63kg gold at London 2012 after a bronze at Beijing 2008. Both of those medals were awarded several years later when athletes who had initially placed ahead of her were disqualified due to doping infractions. Canada’s first Olympic medal in weightlifting came at Helsinki 1952 when Gerry Gratton won silver. Jacques Demers won Canada its second silver medal in the sport at Los Angeles 1984.

Weightlifting has been included on the program at all but three Olympic Games (Paris 1900, London 1908, Stockholm 1912). In its early days, there were no weight classes, but that began to change at Antwerp 1920. By the 1980s, there were 10 separate events for men. It wasn’t until Sydney 2000 that women first competed in weightlifting at the Olympic Games. There are now five weight classes for each gender. 

Weightlifting will take place August 7 to 11 at the South Paris Arena 6. Charron’s event will take place on August 8.

Canadian Weightlifters at Paris 2024

Maude Charron (Rimouski, Quebec)

Boady Santavy (Sarnia, Ontario)