Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Born October 13, 1971 is a Greek weightlifter and three-time Olympic champion. Dimas was born in Himara, Albania, to parents of Greek origin, and emigrated to Greece in 1991. He first competed for Greece in the 1992 Summer Olympics, winning the gold medal in the 82.5 kg class. At a time when Greek success at the Olympics was limited, he and Voula Patoulidou (who won the gold at the 100m hurdles) became instant national heroes. They were greeted as such on their return to Greece at a grand ceremony attended by more than 100.000 people at the Panathinaikon Stadium in Athens. His birthplace gave rise to his nickname "The Greek Lion of Himara". His outstanding number of Olympic Gold Medals created another nickname "Midas".

With the 1993 and 1995 World titles under his belt, Dimas was heavily favoured for the 83 kg class at the 1996 Summer Olympics, where he was the flagbearer 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-bo Turk) would become the fourth in 2004.

At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, Dimas was again chosen as Greek flagbearer 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 and only the third to win them successively four times, thus cementing his status as a national hero in Greece - a hero indeed who helped the obscure Greek weightlifting sport reach world records.

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