Weightlifting Preview

Team USA weightlifting heads into the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, now scheduled for 2021, with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to land on the medal stand multiple times. Since breaking its 16-year Olympic medal drought at the Rio 2016, Team USA weightlifting has only improved, scoring medals, world records and team championships up and down the International Weightlifting Federation’s competition calendar.

Since the Rio Games, the wider sport of weightlifting has worked to level the playing field for all athletes by intensifying its fight against doping. Team USA weightlifting’s long-standing and continuing commitment to clean sport will pay dividends in Tokyo, as it looks to field a full team at the Olympic Games.

With one year to go to the Tokyo Games, Team USA weightlifting is on track to send a full team of eight athletes, four men and four women. Anchored by an unprecedented deep roster of strong athletes, particularly among women, Team USA weightlifting will be competitive in several weight divisions.

Team USA hasn’t won more than one weightlifting medal at the same Olympic Games since the Olympic Games Sydney 2000, where Tara Nott Cunningham won the first women’s weightlifting gold medal in history and Cheryl Haworth took bronze in the +75 kg. women’s category. An American man hasn’t won an Olympic medal in weightlifting since the late Mario Martinez took home the superheavyweight silver at the Olympic Games Los Angeles 1984. Team USA weightlifting has a serious shot to end those droughts on the competition platform at the Tokyo Games.

Updated on July 16, 2020. For more information, contact the sport press officer here.

Team USA in the Medal Hunt: Impressive performances by Team USA athletes worldwide has put the U.S. in a position to land on the podium multiple times at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. USA hasn’t won more than two medals at a single Olympic Games since 2000. The door is open for Team USA, as weightlifters has a serious shot to end that drought in 2021.

New Qualification Standards: New qualification standards are at play for the Tokyo Games. The number of potential quota spots will be delegated to each nation depending upon a nation’s recent doping history. Thanks to the U.S.’s commitment to clean competition, Team USA is expected to be awarded a full team of eight – four men and four women – for the Tokyo Games.

Athletes To Watch
Sarah Robles (League City, Texas)
Bronze medalist at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, Robles looks to qualify for her third-consecutive Olympic Games. Robles won the title in the +90 kg. category at the 2017 IWF Weightlifting World Championships in Anaheim, California.

CJ Cummings (Beaufort, South Carolina)
Reigning junior world champion, and holder of dozens of national, continental and world records, Clarence “CJ” Cummings looks to qualify for his first Olympic team. Cummings, who has won the IWF Junior World Championships each of the last four years, is currently ranked No. 1 in the world in the men’s Olympic qualification matrix.

Katherine Nye (Berkeley, Michigan)
Nye is the reigning world champion in the 71kg category after a meteoric rise in the sport of weightlifting since 2018. At 20 years old, she set the Junior World record in the snatch at the 2019 world championships. Nye hopes to make her first Olympic appearance in Tokyo. 

Qualification Procedure & Selection Criteria
New for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, slots for the Olympic Games are awarded to athletes individually, instead of to member federations as they were in the past. This means athletes who wish to compete at the Tokyo Games must complete a certain number of international qualifying events prior to the Games. Only the top athletes in each body weight category, who have competed in qualifying events, and based on their performance, will be awarded the slots.

Also new for Tokyo Games, the IWF will determine how many slots a country will be awarded based on that nation’s anti-doping record. More doping violations by a nation between 2008 and 2020 means fewer athletes will represent that nation. Thanks to the U.S.’s commitment to clean competition, Team USA is expected to be awarded a full team of eight –, four men and four women, – for the Tokyo Games.

March 5-18, 2021: Junior World Championships (Jeddah KSA)
April 18-25, 2021: Pan American Championships (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
April 30, 2021: Final Olympic Qualification period ends
May 2021: U.S. Olympic Team nominated