Back when CJ Cummings won his first junior world championship in 2016, no American weightlifter had a world title at any level since 2000.
Having now won junior titles every year since, Cummings is helping Team USA make up for lost time.
Cummings, who turns 19 on Thursday, on Monday became the first weightlifter in history, male or female, of any nation, to win four junior world titles in a row. He was previously tied with athletes from Ecuador, Egypt, Russia and Ukraine for three straight.
He won the silver medal in snatch, and golds in the clean & jerk and total. Cummings’ first snatch attempt of 145 was good for the silver, while he missed his second and third at 148 and 150. He started the clean & jerk at 180 – 8 kg. higher than the next-best start in the field – and then missed his second attempt at 185, but bumped up to 192 kg. to break his own junior world record, just set in April. It was a lift that’s just 4 kg. away from breaking the senior world record that’s held by an Olympic and world champion.
Cummings’ winning total of 337 kg. bested second-place Marin Robu of Moldova by 17 kg. Perhaps most importantly for the 18-year-old, the junior world championships are a gold event for the purposes of Olympic qualifying. That means Cummings’ winning total is weighted at 1.1 and accumulates more points as he seeks to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Cummings went into the world championships ranked fourth in the 73 kg. class, which would have him in position for Tokyo.
“I am extremely happy and excited for this year’s gold medal,” Cummings said afterward. “My next competition will be the Junior Pan American Championships, which I also would like to win and build up my ROBI points to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games.”
Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.