ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The last time a U.S. women’s 53 kg. weightlifter lifted 193 kg. or more in competition was at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 when Melanie Roach set the American record with an impressive 193 total.
That record stood for more than nine years until Thursday night, when first-time world team member Caitlin Hogan broke it at the 2017 IWF Weightlifting World Championships at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Hogan successfully lifted a total of 194 kg. between her snatch and clean & jerk, which equates to more than 427 pounds.
“It’s always a goal of mine to get better and better every competition, so this was a 1 kilo total personal record for me,” Hogan said. “That was my main goal, and it just happened to be an American record.”
Hogan was humbled to take the record away from Roach, who finished sixth in Beijing and won bronze at the 2007 Pan American Games.
“She’s absolutely spectacular,” Hogan said of Roach. “Her records have stayed for such a long time. It means so much for me to just be up there amongst her name. It took a long time for somebody to break her record, that’s for sure.”
The 29-year-old Hogan finished seventh in Anaheim with her record-setting total, as well as sixth in the clean & jerk with a lift of 111 kg. (~245 pounds) and eighth in the snatch with a lift of 83 kg. (~183 pounds).
But the competition didn’t start out as magical for Hogan as it ended. After having a successful first snatch attempt, she missed her next two tries of 86 and 87 kg.
Hogan took time to regroup and remember her goals leading into the clean & jerk just minutes later.
“It was hard, but weightlifting is a long sport. The sport has two lifts and you have to focus on both of them individually,” Hogan explained. “I know they add up at the end for the total but once one is done you can’t go back and take your snatch again, so you have to focus on what you can change and make your adjustments in the clean & jerk.”
Strategic training came in handy as well for the 2017 Pan American Championships silver medalist and 2016 World University Championships silver medalist for Texas Women’s University.
Hogan, who only started truly focusing on weightlifting in 2015, said she takes just three or four attempts in practice to get up to 105 or 110 kg., so she had no hesitation when she chose to go from a second clean & jerk of 106 to her third and final attempt of 111, which clinched the total American record.
While the 2017 world championships mark the second time in three years the sport’s biggest event is being held in the United States, this event meant more than just competing in her home country for Hogan – it meant literally competing at home for the Long Beach native who owns a gym, Gym No. 4, just 30 minutes away.
“It was awesome,” Hogan said. “We shut down the gym tonight, about half of my clientele came out. All my members are here watching, showing love for me. It was so great, every time I stepped out on that stage I could hear everyone screaming for me. It was such a great energy in there to feel their support.”