At this year’s Pan American Games in Toronto, two-time Pan American medalist Travis Cooper will chase after the Pan American record for the most consecutive medals in Pan American weightlifting competition, including Pan American Championships and Games. Weightlifting will take place July 11-16 at the Oshawa Sports Centre.
Cooper won bronze medals at the last two Pan American Championships. Pan American Championships for weightlifting take place every year that a Pan American Games are not held.
“It’s a really high level competition that is possible to win,” said Cooper. “The competitors at the top are doing around the same numbers as me, so it’s [a] competition that is reasonable to win, but you still have to do really well in order to do so.”
Along with Cooper, six other weightlifters will compete for the U.S.
“I think everyone has high expectations for themselves and for the team,” said Cooper. “There are only four men and three women, so to make the team you have to be in the upper echelons of weightlifting in the United States, and for that reason I think all the weightlifters going have the chance to win and have a chance to definitely medal.”
Cooper, Norik Vardanian, Kendrick Farris and Alex Lee combine to form the men’s weightlifting team. Melanie Roach, Morghan King and Holley Mangold will be competing for the women.
King finished fourth in the 2014 Pan American Championships. She now has high expectations for this year in the 48 kg. weight class.
“Last year for Pan Ams, I missed my last clean and jerk that would have actually given me the bronze medal,” said King. “Now, for me, it’s for vengeance. I want to come back and I want people to know who I am. I think that that’s what is kind of exciting because I’m in a position where I can really do something on a big stage.”
On the men’s side, Lee, the American Open champion, will be competing in the 69 kg. weight class. Vardanian, a 2012 Olympian for Armenia, and Farris, a 2008 and 2012 Olympian and national record holder, will be competing in the 94 kg. weight class.
For the women, Roach, a 2008 Olympian, will be competing in the 53 kg. weight class. Mangold, a 2012 Olympian and 2014 national champion, will be competing in the 75+ kg. weight class.
For international weightlifting, competitors will have three chances at the two types of lifts. The first is the snatch. Snatch is where the lifter must lift the weight above his/her head in one motion. The second lift is the clean and jerk. This requires two motions; in the first, lifters must bring the weight to their shoulders; the second motion is lifting from the shoulder to above their heads while separating their feet, one in front and one behind.
Morgan Ainslie is a student in the sports media program at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.