At the end of the 19th century the modern weightlifting evolved from strength
exercises, which were shown at fairs or circus mainly by professional
athletes. But some of the weights which were lifted in these exercises must be questioned.
The first sports clubs really doing strength training by amateurs were formed before the turn of the century, especially in Austria and Germany. In these countries the first national organizations emerged: Österreichischer Athleten-Bund in 1890 and Deutscher Athleten-Verband in 1891.
However, it should still take at least another 15 years for a standardization of disciplines and a standardization of the rules began to enforce.
On 1905, Jun 10-12 in Duisburg the first international federation for weightlifting and wrestling was founded by representatives from DEN, GER, ITA and NED: the Amateur-Athleten-Weltunion (Amateur Athletes World Union). For the first time four weightlifting exercises were described in detail (right-handed snatch, left-handed snatch, two-hand press and two-hand clean & jerk). The congress also agreed about the introduction of three body weight categories (Lightweight, Middleweight and Heavyweight) for weightlifting and wrestling. The federation suffered under strong disagreements from the beginning. As the last Germans withdrew from the World Union on 1907, May 18 this was de facto its end.
The next attempt to establish an international federation was undertaken during the 1912 Olympic Games. After these preliminary discussions, delegates from AUT, BOH, DEN, FIN, GER, GBR, HUN, RUS and SWE arrived to the founding congress of the Internationaler Amateur Verband für Schwerathletik (International Amateur Heavy Athletics Federation) on 1913, Jun 09 in Berlin. The federation was responsible for wrestling, weightlifting, boxing, tug of war, as well as throws and puts over 10 kg. The length of wrestling matches was limited to 20 minutes and new body weight categories were set up.
As a result of World War I Austria and Germany were not invited to the Olympic Games in 1920 and banned in international sports. The Austrians invited to a World Championship and Congress of the Internationaler Amateur Verband für Schwerathletik to Vienna in September 1920, nevertheless. At this event only representatives from HUN and SUI took part except of AUT and GER. The renamed federation Internationaler Kraftsportverband (International Strength Sport Federation) organized a last world championship in 1923, and then finally faded away without an official resolution.
Meanwhile, during the Olympic Games 1920 a new international organization was established
solely for weightlifting: Fédération Internationale Haltérophile (FIH)
. Concentrating on weightlifting was consequentially, as boxers (1920) and wrestlers (1921) had
founded their own governing organzations already.
In 1928 the FIH dropped the one-hand exercises from the program of the world championships, but leave them as world record disciplines until 1961. After deletion of press at the end of 1972 only snatch and clean & jerk remain as exercises.
In 1950 the FIH added bodybuilding as new sport and changed its name to Fédération Internationale Haltérophile et Culturiste (FIHC). At the congress on occasion of the 1968 Olympic Games bodybuilding was deleted, but the federation would now be responsible for the powerlifting (squat, bench press and deadlift), without having any experience or even rules. But already at the next Congress in 1969 the federation limited itself to weightlifting.
Since 1983, Oct 20 the International Weightlifting Federation accepts also weightlifting for women. The first women′s competition organized by the IWF took place in Hungary on 1986, Mar 23.
2014 the IWF has 188 member federations.
|10.06.1905 - 14.07.1912||no president|
|Internationaler Weltverband für Schwerathletik|
|15.07.1912 - 06.07.1913||Dr. Péter Tatics HUN, provisional|
|Internationaler Amateur-Weltverband für Schwerathletik|
|06.07.1913 - 06.09.1920||Dr. Péter Tatics HUN|
|06.09.1920 - 1923||Dr. Péter Tatics HUN|
|Fédération Internationale Haltérophile (FIH)|
|23.08.1920 - 01.04.1923||Jules Rosset FRA|
|01.04.1923 - 25.07.1924||Willem Johannes Marie Linden NED|
|25.07.1924 - 07.07.1937||Jules Rosset FRA|
|07.07.1937 - 13.09.1937||Willem Johannes Marie Linden NED, acting|
|13.09.1937 - 14.07.1941 ||Willem Johannes Marie Linden NED|
|14.07.1941 - 17.10.1946||-----|
|17.10.1946 - 12.10.1950||Jules Rosset FRA|
|Fédération Internationale Haltérophile et Culturiste (FIHC)|
|12.10.1950 - 23.07.1952||Jules Rosset FRA|
|23.07.1952 - 21.09.1952 ||Dietrich Wortmann USA|
|21.09.1952 - 26.08.1953||Bruno Nyberg FIN, acting|
|26.08.1953 - 06.09.1960||Bruno Nyberg FIN|
|06.09.1960 - 11.10.1968||Clarence Johnson USA|
|Fédération Haltérophile Internationale (FHI)|
|11.10.1968 - 25.08.1972||Clarence John|