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sports / This Weightlifter Won Gold, Took Off His Shoes, Then Immediately Retired

This Weightlifter Won Gold, Took Off His Shoes, Then Immediately Retired

Always go out on a high note.

Posted on August 9, 2016, at 11:53 a.m. ET

This is Colombian weightlifter Óscar Figueroa. He competed Tuesday in the final of the men's 62-kilogram weightlifting event at the Rio Olympics.

Lars Baron / Getty Images

He already had managed to lift 142 kg (313 pounds) in the "snatch" event — wherein competitors lift the barbell above their heads from the ground in a clean movement and hold it for two seconds.

He had also lifted an astonishing 176 kg (388 pounds) in the "clean and jerk" section, where athletes must first raise the bar to their shoulders from the ground before holding it above their head.

With a combined total weight of 318 kg (701 pounds), he was already ahead of his nearest rival when he attempted his final clean and jerk lift of 179 kg.

Although he managed to raise the bar to his shoulders, he couldn't hold it above his head.

Lars Baron / Getty Images

But it didn't matter: His final score was still 6 kg higher than his Indonesian runner-up. He had won himself his first-ever gold medal.

Goh Chai Hin / AFP / Getty Images

The four-time Olympian was injured during the Beijing games and underwent back surgery as recently as January. So it's safe to say he was rather overwhelmed by his accomplishment.

Goh Chai Hin / AFP / Getty Images

He then took off his shoes — a traditional gesture for those indicating their retirement from the sport — and let out a roar.

Goh Chai Hin / AFP / Getty Images

With his mom and hundreds of Colombian supporters in the crowd, the emotion was just too much.

Pool / Getty Images

Through tears, he bowed to the crowd

Lars Baron / Getty Images

"It's 22 years since I started and now is the time to retire, which is why I removed my shoes," he said, according to the International Weightlifting Federation. "But I am full of emotion — it’s as though I was lifting for the whole country, and those tears were for all of Colombia."

He did, however, hint that he would "think" about competing at the Tokyo games in four years time.

The medal ceremony was also a roller coaster of emotions.

Goh Chai Hin / AFP / Getty Images

The Colombians in the crowd boomed with pride when the gold medal was placed around his neck, before leading a boisterous rendition of their national anthem.

Goh Chai Hin / AFP / Getty Images

"My tears were tears of happiness," Figueroa said.

Goh Chai Hin / AFP / Getty Images

If you're in the US, you can watch the entire emotional finish here on the NBC website.

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