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Maurus Earns USA Weightlifting's 100th Pan American Games Medal

By Ryan Gregory | July 28, 2019, 8:20 p.m. (ET)

Harrison Maurus competes at the Pan American Games Lima 2019 on July 28, 2019 in Lima, Peru.


LIMA, PERU – Harrison Maurus’s total score of 350 earned him more than just the bronze medal in the men’s 81 kg. class of the Pan American Games Lima 2019 weightlifting competition. The medal was also USA weightlifting’s 100th in Pan American Games history. 

“It feels great,” Maurus said. “I’m always happy to contribute to the success of USA weightlifting. It feels good to do my job and make people proud. Hopefully I can take this momentum and set some more records.”

Maurus and Christian Rodriguez Ocasio, the men’s 81 kg. class participants, were Team USA’s last two chances to medal on Sunday. Both Rodriguez Ocasio and Maurus were successful on all three of their snatch attempts. Maurus entered the clean and jerk with a score of 155, good enough for third, while Rodriguez was right behind him with 152. 

Rodriguez Ocasio was up first in the clean and snatch and was successful once in the lift with a weight of 175. This brought his point total to 327, which was good enough for fourth place.
Maurus found himself in a three-way race for the gold with Brayan Ródallegas of Colombia and Zacarias Bonnat of the Dominican Republic entering the clean and jerk. Though he couldn’t accomplish his final lift weight of 198 kg., Maurus’s 195 kg. lift on his prior attempt proved enough to earn the bronze medal and a place in the team’s history. Ródallegas took home the gold with a total score of 363. 

Team USA’s day began with the women’s 55 kg. weight class and Jourdan Delacruz. Delacruz had an uncharacteristically rocky start, failing on her first snatch attempt of 87 kg. After opting to bump to 88 kg. for her second, she was unsuccessful again. To save a chance at the podium, she remained at 88 kg. for her final attempt. After an extended pause in the squat, Delacruz rose up and completed the lift. Despite the rocky start, her score was still good for fourth of the nine competitors heading into the clean and jerk.

After a successful lift of 109 kg. Delacruz failed on a lift of 113 kg. Going into her final attempt, she trailed Ana López Ferrer of Mexico by 5 points. Delacruz increased her weight to 115, which, if lifted successfully, would have put her one point ahead of López Ferrer and landed a spot on the podium. She successfully completed the clean portion of the lift but dropped the weight on the jerk attempt. 

“I knew I needed it to have a chance to medal,” Delacruz said. “Obviously I really wanted it, but it just wasn’t in the cards today. My start weighed on my mind and I had a hard time moving forward. You know, stuff like this happens.” 

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Delacruz missed the podium by five points. Genesis Rodriguez of Venezuela scored a Pan Am Games record 96 in the snatch and tied the Pan Am Games record of 116 in the clean and jerk for a total of 212, eight more than second place Yenny Sinisterra of Colombia. 

In the women’s 59 kg. weight class, Jessica Lucero and Hunter Elam completed snatches of 93 kg., Elam on her second attempt and Lucero on her third. While this placed the two of them near the bottom of the leaderboard entering the clean and jerk, they were both just four points behind leaders Maria Lobon of Colombia and Maria Escobar of Ecuador, who were tied at 97. 

The clean and jerk did little to help. Elam and Lucero scored 112 and 110, respectively. Lucero was unable to build on a 110 kg. lift on her first attempt, failing on her subsequent attempts at 115 kg. Elam showed resilience in her lift, however, pushing past two failed attempts at 111 kg. to finally secure a good lift on the third attempt, one kg. heavier.

Lobon won the gold medal with a total score of 221, which tied the Pan Am Games record for total points in the weight class. Lucero finished with a final score of 203 while Elam finished with 205, which proved enough to qualify for World Championships in September.

“The number one goal was to solidify myself on the World (Championships) team,” Elam said. “I do feel like I could have done better, I had a higher total in mind. But I accomplished my goal, so I’m pleased.”

On Monday, the U.S. weightlifting team is back in action as Mathlynn Sasser in the women’s 64 kg. class, Nathan Damron in the men’s 96 kg. class, Katherine Nye in the women’s 76 kg. class, and Wesley Kitts in the men’s 106 kg. class will all compete for podium spots. Sarah Robles, the Pan American record holder for snatch (128 kg.), clean and jerk (162 kg.), and total score (290 kg.) will round out the weightlifting competition for Team USA with her participation in the women’s +87 kg. class on Tuesday. 

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Harrison Maurus