At the 2012 London Olympics, Chinese athlete Zhou Lulu proved to be the strongest woman on earth by lifting 333kg on 75kg division. This was a new world record, surpassing her own previous record of 328kg.
Later, the athlete commented that the gold medal weighed heavier than the weights. Nevertheless, it was a joyous moment for her country, especially her family and her hometown.
From a little girl in a village in China to an Olympic gold medalist, Zhou’s journey was not the easiest, but it was definitely thrilling.
She aimed for this gold medal right since she witnessed Tang Gonghong winning gold in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
While people mostly associate weightlifting with male athletes, women like Zhou are constantly helping to break the norm.
So how did the incredible athlete discovered weightlifting? How was her early life, and how did she get into the Olympics?
In this article, we will learn in detail about the journey of this talented woman. But first, here are some interesting quick facts:
Zhou Lulu: Quick Facts
|Full Name||Zhou Lulu|
|Birthdate||19 March 1988|
|Age||34 years old|
|Father’s Name||Zhou Weijian|
|Birthplace||Yantai, Shandong, China|
|Home Town||Yantai, Shandong, China|
|Residence||Yantai, Shandong, China|
|School||Shandong Provincial Sports School|
|Height||1.75 meters (5’9″)|
|Weight||133 kg (293 pounds)|
|Olympics Wins||One Gold (2012 London Olympic)|
|World Championship||One Gold (2011 Paris), One Silver (2013 Wrocław)|
|Personal Best||Snatch: 146 kg, Clean & Jerk: 192 kg, Total: 334 kg|
|Net Worth||$1 million|
|Merch||Women’s Weightlifting Shoes|
Zhou Lulu: Early Life and Family
Zhou was born in 1988 in Xilugezhuang Village, Dayao Town, Muping District, Yantai City of China. Her parents, Zhou Weijan, and his wife, are farmers who grow apples and cherries.
They had never watched her play live until the London Olympics. Then, when someone funded their travel expenses, they traveled abroad for the first time to watch their daughter win gold.
Though her parents don’t know much about the sport, they are very proud of their daughter.
Although much is not known about Zhou’s family, she has one sister and grandmother.
Similarly, Zhou took up weightlifting at the age of 11 years old.
Zhou Lulu: Discovering Weightlifting
There is an interesting story behind how Zhou started to lift weights. It was back in 1999 when coach Shi Du of the Muping District Sports school spotted her.
Shi Du needed a weightlifting student but had no luck so far. Zhou had participated in a Shotput competition in a sports meet where Shi Du was present.
Likewise, when he saw her tall and strong build, Shi Du decided then and there. He took her into his wings.
But again, he had to get the permission of her family. But when she went to visit her parents, they were not home. So he talked to his grandma!
Despite not understanding what weight lighting is, she believed in the coach and let her grandkid play!
In this way, Zhou started her journey.
The Never Give Up Attitude
Weightlifting is a difficult sport. A day of training involves lifting 100s of kilograms, and it can get hard for anyone. There were not many kids in the school who did weightlifting. Managing academics and training could get exhausting for kids.
However, the introverted Zhohu never complained, just kept on training. Along with Zhohyu, her sister also went to train, but she gave up soon.
But it was not the same always! The training was too difficult and often exhausting. Along the way, Zhohy started to think about quitting. But then, the 2004 Athenes Olympics happened!
When Tang Gonghong so effortlessly won the gold medal and made china proud, Zohu could not help but want it for herself. And the fact that Tang was also from Shandong made the fire in her burn even brighter.
In that way, her attitude toward weightlifting changed totally. She started loving it and preparing herself for when she would earn her own gold.
But the journey was not an easy one.
Zhou Lulu: Career
Initially, she spent three years in Yantai sports school in her town. In 2001, she transferred to Yantai City Sports School, where she trained under Coach Xiandong.
In 2003, she moved to Shandong Province Women’s weightlifting team, where Zhijun coached her.
Zhou was brought into the limelight in 2007 when she back-to-back proved her abilities. Firstly, she won the runner-up in the national urban games. In addition, she also won the Asian youth championship.
In 2008, she won fourth place in the national weightlifting championships.
She broke the national record by over 3 kg in 2009 national games, ending in runner-up. The same year, she broke the world record for women’s weightlifting for the 75 kg category by lifting 148 kg.
In the 2011 world weightlifting championships, she won two medals in clean and jerk with a total score of 327 kg.
Zhou Lulu: Olympics
In the 2012 national women;’s weightlifting championships and Olympic trials, she won the competition with a grab of 145 kg, clean and jerk of 183kg, and total score of 328 kg.
At the London Olympics, she surpassed Russia’s Tatiana Kashirina to win gold in the 75 kg category and set a new world record.
Moreover, it was the 29th gold medal of the Chinese delegation and the 5th gold medal of the Chinese weightlifting team in the Olympics.
With this win, she became a grand slam weightlifter, having won Olympic games, world championship, and world record.
In the 2014 Asian games, she set a new Asian record of snatch with 142 kg and a clean and jerk world record of 192 kg.
With a total score of 334 kg, she easily took home a gold medal. Since 2014, Zhou has retired and barely makes public appearances.
Zhou Lulu: Body, Height, Measurements
At 1.75 meters tall and 133 kg weight, Zhou has a body suited to be a weightlifter.
She naturally had a big body which made her coach try her weightlifting. During the exclusive training, her body has grown ever bigger.
Of course, you can lift a lot of weight with a heavy body, but it sometimes gets you in minor difficulties.
She has to wear 5XL clothes, which can be very difficult to find.
Zhou’s family owns an apple garden back in their village. Being a kind girl, she tried to help them in the orchard. But her heavy body world was just not right to work in the field.
Similarly, she was so big for the orchard that it caused apples to fall and she worlds step all over them. After realizing it was doing more harm than good, her family advised her not to go again.
Zhou sports a short haircut with glasses to deal with myopia. Overall, she was a tomboyish image.
But if looked closely, we can notice that she has three little braids on the back of her head. It was made for her by her sister, and she considers it to be her “lucky braid.”
Zhou Lulu: Relationships
A Pieces by her birth sign, she considers herself to be a romantic at heart. After the Olympics, When the interviewer asked her if she has a boyfriend, she shyly nodded no.
But the fact that Lulu has admirers all around the globe is not a hidden secret.
As she has stepped away from the limelight since 2014, we can not tell if she is currently is married or in any relationship. But we hope she is fully enjoying her days of retirement.
Zhou Lulu: Social Media
Despite being one of the strongest women, zhou has an introverted and shy nature. That might be the reason why she is barely active on social media.
There is a Facebook page of Zhou, but it was last updated in 2012. So if you want to find out more about her, an internet search is the way to go.
Zhou Lulu: Frequently Asked Questions
Is Zhou Lulu retired?
Yes, Zhou has not competed in games since 2014. Lulu did not participate in the 2016 or 2020 Olympic games either.
Though the official reason for her retirement is not public, we can guess it was due to injuries.