On his opening clean and jerk lift of 166 kilograms (approximately 366 pounds), Li momentarily stood on just one leg. After extending the weight above his head, Li kept his left foot planted while lifting his right leg off the ground and extending it in the air — apparently in an effort to correct his balance before completing the lift.
“It was a momentary mistake, I almost lost my balance, but I had been working on this scenario in training,” Li told reporters during a news conference.
It’s a move Li has pulled off before, most notably at the 2017 Asian championships. And according to the Associated Press, it has its own fan-coined nickname: “the flamingo.”
Here’s how it looked back at the 2019 IWF World Cup:
The technique comes with a warning, too. Li does not advise any of you amateur weightlifters out there to try it at your local gym.
“I have very strong core strength and muscles,” Li said through a translator, per the AP. “I know this move pleases the audience but I don’t suggest people make the same move. It could provoke injury.”
Li took home his first gold medal on Sunday, besting Eko Yuli Irawan of Indonesia in the men’s 61-kilogram category. His top lift was a clean and jerk of 172 kg, an Olympic record. Li’s total of 313 kg also set an Olympic record.
In the process, Li became the second Chinese weightlifter to take home the gold, joining Hou Zhihui, who won the women’s 49 kg event.