A deafening roar erupted in the weightlifting arena as Podobedova cleared 161 kilograms in her final clean and jerk to equal Zabolatnaya's total weight of 291 kilograms, but winning by lower body weight. Her coach broke into a spontaneous victory dance after the most exhilarating duel so far in the Olympic weightlifting competition.
The two strongwomen exchanged the lead lift by lift after world champion Nadezda Evstyukhina, also of Russia, surprisingly crashed out with three failed attempts in the snatch.
Zabolotnaya was on top after snatching an Olympic record 131 kilograms, 1 kilo more than Podobedova. But Podobedova, who changed citizenship to Kazakhstan from Russia, moved into first place in the clean and jerk by taking 150 kilograms in her first attempt.
Her Russian rival responded by breaking the Olympic record twice, but it wasn't enough as Zabolotnaya cleared her last lift to the delight of the crowd at London's ExCeL centre.
Iryna Kulesha of Belarus was a distant third with 269 kilograms.
Egypt's Khalil Mahmoud Abir Abdelrahman was injured in her last lift when she fell backward from a squat and the bar struck her chest. She was taken off the platform in a wheelchair.