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USA Weightlifting Wraps Its Most Successful Youth World Championships Performance

By Karen Price | March 15, 2019, 7:16 p.m. (ET)

Nia Walker competes in the women's +81 kg. category at the 2019 IWF Youth World Championships on March 15, 2019 in Las Vegas.


The U.S. wrapped up a historic IWF Youth World Championships ever Friday in Las Vegas.

The event was first held in 2009 but it wasn’t until 2016 that a U.S. athlete medaled. Team USA had three medalists in 2016 and again in 2017, albeit four medalists total from those years as CJ Cummings and Harrison Maurus repeated. This year, seven athletes collected a total of 16 medals at the meet, which the U.S. hosted for the first time.

Team USA won both the men's team world championship title and the women's, the first time both U.S. teams earned that distinction at a world championship.

Kaiya Bryant was the first U.S. athlete to medal, and she claimed two pieces of hardware on Sunday. Competing in the women’s 49 kg. category, the 14-year-old set three American youth records in snatch, clean & jerk and total and won a silver medal with her clean & jerk of 87 kg. She also took the overall bronze with her total of 154 kg. She was just the third U.S. athlete to win a medal in total at the Youth World Championships. Bryant's coach, Kerri Hanebrink Goodrich, became the first American woman to coach an athlete to a world medal.

Teammate Ryan Grimsland captured a medal later the same day with bronze in clean & jerk in the men’s 67 kg. category with a best lift of 147 kg. It was the first time two U.S. athletes medaled in the same day at the Youth World Championships.

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Dade Stanley became the fourth U.S. athlete to medal in total when he swept the silver medals in the men’s 81 kg. Monday. He had a best snatch of 133 kg. and a top clean & jerk of 155 kg.

Stanley wasn’t the only one to sweep silver. Olivia Reeves matched the accomplishment the next day in the women’s 71 kg. with a best snatch of 84 kg and a three-for-three performance in clean & jerk with a best lift of 110 kg. for a total of 194 kg.

Morgan McCullough collected the silver for his 178 kg. clean & jerk in the men’s 96 kg.

Then on the final day of competition, the U.S. had two weightlifters in the women’s +81 category. Julia Yun took silver in the snatch and set an American youth record with 90 kg., won bronze in clean & jerk with 109 kg. and silver in total with 199 kg. Nia Walker won bronze in snatch with a lift of 86 kg., silver in clean & jerk with 110 kg. and bronze overall with 196 kg.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.