Pyrros Dimas

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 as 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.

Pyrros Dimas
Piros dimas in dion.jpg
Personal information
Born (1971-10-13) 13 October 1971 (age 49)[1]
Himarë, Albania
Height173 cm (5 ft 8 in)[1]
Weight83.15 kg (183.3 lb)
CountryGreece Greece
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

Early yearsEdit

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 AlbaniaEdit

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 GreeceEdit

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, 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]

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

Political activitiesEdit

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 lifeEdit

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). When he was in his youth, he idolized the former Soviet (Armenian) weightlifter of his senior category, Yurik Vardanian, whose son, Norik Vardanian idolized him when he (Norik) was a child. His wife Anastasia Sdougkou died of brain cancer on 14 June 2018.

Career bestsEdit

Major resultsEdit

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

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Pirro Dhima". Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  2. ^ Ford, Bonnie D. (29 November 2017). "Raising the Bar". Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  3. ^ Repanas, Antonios. "Pyrros Dimas and the "American Dream" in Greece". Retrieved 19 August 2016. This three-time Olympic gold medal winner and one-time bronze winner came to Greece from Albania in 1991. “Personally I have never felt like a refugee. I came to my country. I did not go to another country to feel like a refugee or an immigrant. I came here with legal papers and with my entire family. I also had help from Yianni Syorou. However, there were other people from the Northern Epirus who came here illegally from the mountains and who risked their lives.
  4. ^ Heinrichs, Ann (2002). Greece. Danbury, Conn.: Children's Press. p. 113. ISBN 9780516222714. Born in northern Epirus in 1 971, Dimas competes in the 159-pound
  5. ^ Keridis, Dimitris (2009). Historical dictionary of modern Greece. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. p. 55. ISBN 9780810863125. Born in Himara in southern Albania to ethnic Greek parents, Pyrros Dimas is a Greek sports hero.
  6. ^ a b c d e Armillotta, Giovanni (April 2008). "Cili ishte shqiptari Pirro Dhima ne Shqiperi?" [Who was the Albanian Pyrros Dimas in Albania]. Albanian Football Magazine (in Albanian). X (178): 12–13. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
  7. ^ a b Κάβουρας, Χρήστος (7 February 2017). "Όταν ο Πύρρος ήρθε για να... σηκώσει την Ελλάδα!". (in Greek). Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Godina out, Washington in discus final". The Denver Post. 30 July 1996.
  9. ^ "Pyrros DIMAS – The most successful weightlifter". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 10 December 2008.
  10. ^ "Board of Directors Milestones". Hellenic Weightlifting Federation. Archived from the original on 20 March 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2008.
  11. ^ "Pyrros Dimas carries weight of rebuilding his sport". Kathimerini. 13 October 2008. Archived from the original on 12 November 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2008.
  12. ^ Panorama (24 April 2012). "Pirro Pirro Dhima deputet, ne krye te listes PASOK". Panorama. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014.
  13. ^ Samarxhiu, Thimi (11 June 2012). "Pirro Dhima: Greqia të mos e harrojë 'Epirin e Veriut'". Balkanweb. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Kjo zonë për shumë-shumë vite ishte e harruar nga partitë politike greke; This area was forgotten for many many years from the Greek political parties.
  14. ^ Panorama (17 February 2014). "Athina feston 100 vjetorin e Pavaresise se Vorio Epirit, i pranishem edhe Pirro Dhima". Panorama. Archived from the original on 6 April 2014.
  15. ^ "Οργή από τον Πύρρο Δήμα για την αρπαγή των περιουσιών των ομογενών στη Χειμάρρα". ProtoThema (in Greek). 13 December 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  16. ^ "Dimas Pyrros (GRE)". Database Weightlifting. Retrieved 27 July 2009.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Olympic Games
Preceded by
Nikolaos Kaklamanakis
Flagbearer for   Greece
Athens 2004
Succeeded by
Ilias Iliadis