Pyrros Dimas

Pyrros Dimas
Piros dimas in dion.jpg
Personal information
Nationality Greek
Born (1971-10-13) 13 October 1971 (age 50)[1]
Himarë, Albania
Height 173 cm (5 ft 8 in)[1]
Weight 83.15 kg (183.3 lb)
Country Greece Greece
Sport Weightlifting
Event(s) 85 kg
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)
  • Snatch: 180.5 kg (1999)
  • Clean and jerk: 215 kg (2000)
  • Total: 392.5 kg (1996)
Medal record
Representing  Greece
Men's weightlifting
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1992 Barcelona -82.5 kg
Gold medal – first place 1996 Atlanta -83 kg
Gold medal – first place 2000 Sydney -85 kg
Bronze medal – third place 2004 Athens -85 kg
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1993 Melbourne -83 kg
Gold medal – first place 1995 Guangzhou -83 kg
Gold medal – first place 1998 Lahti -85 kg
Silver medal – second place 1999 Athens -85 kg
European Championships
Gold medal – first place 1995 Warszawa -83 kg
Silver medal – second place 1998 Riesa -85 kg
Bronze medal – third place 1992 Szekszard -82.5 kg
Bronze medal – third place 1993 Sofia -83 kg

Pyrros Dimas (Greek: Πύρρος Δήμας; pronounced [piros ðimas]; born 13 October 1971) is a Greek politician and former weightlifter. He is currently the technical director for USA Weightlifting, having taken that position in June 2017.[2] Dimas has also been involved in politics as a member of the Greek parliament, representing the Panhellenic Socialist Movement from 2012 to 2015. Dimas is the most decorated Greek athlete in the Olympics and is widely considered one of the greatest weightlifters of all time, having been three times Olympic Gold Medalist (in his fourth Olympiad, a knee injury notwithstanding, he won the bronze medal), and three times World Champion. He was named the Greek Male Athlete of the Year, for the years 1992, 1993, 1995, and 1996.

Early years

Dimas was born in 1971 in Himara, southern Albania, to ethnic Greek parents.[3][4][5]

Dimas started the sport at 11 and competed at a junior's 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.[6]

While in Albania, he was coached by Zef Kovaci. 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.[6]

Results representing Albania

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.).[6]

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, Leonidas Sabanis and Fatmir Bushi helped Albania rank 2nd in Europe (after 1st placed Bulgaria).[6]

Results representing Greece

During his stay in Aalborg he came in contact with representatives of the Greek national team: Giannis Sgouros and Christos Iakovou and he expressed great enthusiasm for a future cooperation. However, the political situation in the People's Republic of Albania prohibited him from leaving the country.[7] Dimas managed to cross the Greek-Albanian border at 7 February 1991, after a several hour exhaustive trip. He then stayed in Athens.[7] He acquired Greek citizenship in 1992,[6] and first competed under the Greek flag in the 1992 Summer Olympics, winning the gold medal in the 82.5 kg class.

During his third lift at the clean and jerk, he shouted "Για την Ελλάδα!" (transliterated "Gia 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 60,000 people at the Panathinaikon Stadium in Athens, with a further 30,000 outside the stadium.[8] 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 flag bearer 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 flag bearer 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,[citation needed] 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, the third to win those four medals successively, and the only one whose four medals include 3 golds, thus cementing his status as a national hero in Greece and as an international weightlifting legend.

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.[9][dead link]

In June 2008, Dimas became vice-president,[10] and in October 2008 president of the Hellenic Weightlifting Federation.[11]

Political activities

In 2012 Dimas entered politics as a member of PASOK.[12] He was soon polemical with Greece's policies with Northern Epirus, claiming that the Greek government has "forgotten" it.[13]

On 17 February 2014 Dimas participated in the ceremony of 100th anniversary of the declaration of Autonomy of the Republic of Northern Epirus.[14] Dimas propagates against what he considers to be discrimination policies of the Albanian state against the Greek community of Himara.[15]

Personal life

Dimas was married to Anastasia Sdougkou, a former Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) sports reporter. Together they had four children, Eleni (b. 1995), Victor (b. 1998), Maria (b. 2000), and Nickolas (b. 2009). His wife Anastasia Sdougkou died of brain cancer on 14 June 2018.

Career bests

Major results

Year Venue Weight Snatch (kg) Clean & Jerk (kg) Total Rank
1 2 3 Rank 1 2 3 Rank
Olympic Games
1992 Spain Barcelona, Spain 82.5 kg 162.5 167.5 167.5 1 202.5 207.5 207.5 4 370.0 1st place, gold medalist(s)
1996 United States Atlanta, United States 83 kg 172.5 175.0 180.0 WR 1 202.5 207.5 213.0 WR 2 392.5 WR 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2000 Australia Sydney, Australia 85 kg 175.0 175.0 175.0 4 210.0 215.0 218.5 1 390.0 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2004 Greece Athens, Greece 85 kg 170.0 175 175.0 3 202.5 205.0 207.5 4 377.5 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
World Championships
1993 Australia Melbourne 83 kg 170.0 175.0 177.5 1st place, gold medalist(s) 202.5 202.5 205.0 4 377.5 1st place, gold medalist(s)
1994 Turkey Istanbul, Turkey 83 kg 167.5 172.5 178.5 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 200.0 200.0 200.0 -- -- --
1995 China Guangzhou, China 83 kg 170.0 172.5 175.0 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 207.5 212.5 212.5 1st place, gold medalist(s) 385.0 1st place, gold medalist(s)
1998 Finland Lahti, Finland 85 kg 172.5 178.0 178.0 WR 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 207.5 210.0 212.5 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 387.5 1st place, gold medalist(s)
1999 Greece Athens, Greece 85 kg 175.0 180.5 WR 182.5 1st place, gold medalist(s) 207.5 212.5 212.5 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 387.5 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
European Championships
1992 Hungary Szekszárd, Hungary 82.5 kg 165.0 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 202.5 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 367.5 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
1993 Bulgaria Sofia, Bulgaria 83 kg 170.0 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 200.0 5 370.0 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
1995 Poland Warsaw, Poland 83 kg 177.5 1st place, gold medalist(s) 210.0 1st place, gold medalist(s) 387.5 1st place, gold medalist(s)
1998 Germany Riesa, Germany 85 kg 167.5 167.5 172.5 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 200.0 205.0 210.0 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 377.5 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
2000 Bulgaria Sofia, Bulgaria 85 kg 167.5 170.0 170.0 4 200.0 205.0 205.0 7 370.0 4
2004 Ukraine Kyiv, Ukraine 85 kg 165.0 170.0 170.0 6 200.0 200.0 205.0 5 375.0 5