Team USA not only ended its 12-year medal drought at the IWF World Weightlifting Championships but also saw the first American world champion crowned in 23 years.
Mattie Rogers swept bronze in the women’s 69 kg. and Harrison Maurus won bronze in the clean & jerk and total in the men’s 77 kg. category on the same day to end the medal drought, and on the last day of competition Sarah Robles swept all three golds in the women’s +90 kg.
The U.S. totaled eight medals and four athletes set new American records over the course of the weeklong event in Anaheim, California, which ended on Tuesday. The last time the U.S. won eight medals was at the 1991 world championships.
In the final event for Team USA on Tuesday, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Robles went 6-for-6 in collecting the first world title for the U.S. since Robin Byrd in 1994. Robles, 29, had a winning lift of 126 kg. in her third attempt in the snatch and 158 kg. in her final attempt in the clean & jerk for a total of 284 kg. to become just the fourth woman in U.S. history to win a world title.
Maurus, the 17-year-old phenom from Auburn, Washington, snapped a 20-year drought for the American men on Saturday when he took the bronze medal in the men’s 77 kg. clean & jerk and total in his first senior world championships.
Those were the first medals for the Team USA men since two-time Olympian Wes Barnett won a pair of medals in the 108 kg. in 1997.
Maurus also set a new youth world record and an American record in the clean & jerk with his lift of 193 kg., beating his own youth world record (also the youth American record) set in April, and toppled the U.S. record in total weight as well with 348 kg. Two-time Olympian Oscar Chaplin III held the previous total record of 342.5 since June 29, 2000.
As Maurus is still young enough to compete in both the youth and junior categories, his lifts also set new American records in those categories.
Rogers already holds the U.S. records in snatch, clean & jerk and total weight, and although she was unable to match or beat those, her efforts still earned her three bronze medals. The Apopka, Florida, native lifted 104 kg. on her second lift of the snatch and opened the clean and jerk with a lift of 131 kg. Both would stick for the bronze medal, as did her total weight of 235 kg. The last American woman to medal at a world championships was Cheryl Hayworth in 2005 (clean & jerk and total in the +75 kg.).
Wes Kitts set a new U.S. record in the 105 kg. with a 176 kg. snatch, beating his own record of 175 kg. set in July in Miami.
CJ Cummings also set an American record in the men’s 69 kg. with his snatch of 141 kg. to beat Alex Lee’s record of 140 kg., set in 2015. Cummings beat his previous junior and youth American snatch records of 139 kg., and he now holds the record in all three categories following the 185 kg. clean & jerk and 322 kg. total set in April in Bangkok.
Finally, Caitlin Hogan set a U.S. record in the women’s 53 kg. with a total of 194 kg. after lifting 83 kg. in the snatch and 111 kg. in the clean & jerk. Melanie Roach held the previous total record of 193 kg., set at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008.