Profile Born in the Albanian town Himare, weightlifter Pirros Dymas competed for his country of birth before choosing to represent Greece, the home of his ancestors, following the 1990 European Championships.
He quickly captured the hearts of his new countrymen with a staggering performance during the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. After starting the competition as a relative outsider, the 20-year-old powered his way to the gold medal with a total of 370kg.
By the time the 1996 Olympics came, ‘The Lion of Himare’ was a multiple world champion and the odds-on favourite to retain his title. He did so in convincing fashion, breaking a world record and lifting 10kg more than his nearest rival on his way to winning a second Olympic gold medal.
Back in Greece, Dimas was hailed as a modern day Hercules and presented with a commemorative gold medal by the Mayor of Athens in an emotional ceremony at the ruins of old Olympia. But his appetite for success had not yet been satisfied. Another world title followed in 1998 before Dimas boarded the plane to Australia for the 2000 Olympic Games where he reigned supreme for a third time.
Over the following years, Dimas’s powers declined but he returned to the Olympic stage one more time in 2004 in Athens, carrying the hopes of the host nation on his broad shoulders. Having barely recovered from knee surgery and with a painful wrist, Dimas claimed ‘only’ the bronze medal to provide a fitting end to his distuingished career. During the medal ceremony, he received a huge, standing ovation as his Greek compatriots embraced their national hero for the final time.