USA Weightlifting Features Carissa Gump Has Big...

Carissa Gump Has Big Day at the 2008 USA Weightlifting National Championships and 2000 U.S. Olympian Cara Heads Back in Form Just in Time for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials

March 01, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)

For Immediate Release March 1, 2008 Carissa Gump Has Big Day at the 2008 USA Weightlifting National Championships and 2000 U.S. Olympian Cara Heads Back in Form Just in Time for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials COLUMBUS, Ohio-If the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team for Weightlifting were selected today, Carissa Gump (Essex Junction, Vt./Colorado Springs, Colo.) would be the first athlete named to the team. Gump won today's women's 63kg weight class over her Olympic Training Center teammate Natalie Woolfolk (Arnold, Md./Colorado Springs, Colo.). Gump tied with Woolfolk in total weight, but won the competition based on body weight percentage as Gump is slightly lighter than Woolfolk. While Gump bested Woolfolk today, Woolfolk will still be ranked slightly ahead of Gump going into the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, May 16-17 in Atlanta, Ga. because of slightly better performances in previous competitions. Regardless, Gump's chances of making the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team in Weightlifting only seem to be improving."It feels great,"said Gump."When they told me that I was ranked number one, I almost fainted. It feels so good to be number one, even if it only lasted one day. I've still got a lot of work to do, but I feel really good going into the Olympic Trials."A U.S. Olympian from the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, Cara Heads (Costa Mesa, Calif./Colorado Springs, Colo./Shreveport, La.) looked to be back in form today at the 2008 USA Weightlifting National Championships, being held at the at the Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio winning the women's 69kg weight class with a total of 206kg (92kg snatch and 114kg clean and jerk). Heads has battled a series of injuries over the past two years, but is now healthy and ready for her run for a shot at returning to the Olympic platform."This is just step one,"said Heads."I know I still have my work cut out for me. We've got a couple of good training cycles between now and the Olympic Trials. I can't wait to get back to work. This was definitely a little sort of encouragement along the way. Injuries, nagging injuries, had me for a good year and a half so it's great to be back. It's great to be in the running. I love competing. I love Olympic weightlifting. I'm happy; I'm very satisfied. My goal here was to get qualified for the Olympic Trials. I started low in order to be sure I got qualified and then everything after that was a 'go for it' lift. I'm happy; I've been working hard and it's great to see the results. My three goals for this competition were to get qualified for the Olympic Trials, win the National Championships and then go for a overall top seven lift for the Olympic Trials rankings. Fortunately I went five for six, so I was in a position to go for a top seven list. For that last lift I was right where I wanted to be with a chance at a top seven overall performance. It's great practice for the pressure that will be there at the Olympic Trials. I know what the pressure of the Olympic Trials is going to be like. I've been there before and put myself in that mindset today so it was a practice run today and I think it went pretty well."Norik Vardanian (Colorado Springs, Colo.) put up the top men's performance of the weekend thus far with a 355kg total (155kg snatch and 200kg clean and jerk) in the men's 94kg weight class."It feels pretty good,"said Vardanian."I'm a little disappointed in myself for not making my last attempt in each of the lifts, but I'll take it for what it is. The crowd was awesome and I enjoyed it. (Going into the Olympic Trials) I'm going to train hard and gain some weight. I've still got a couple of kilos to gain and I'll be ready."Other men winning the title of USA Weightlifting National Champion today were Lance Frye (Mooretown, N.J./Men's 77kg Weight Class), and Innocent Ukpong (Houston, Texas/Men's 85kg Weight Class). Yesterday's competition saw Jackie Berube (Escanaba, Mich./Colorado Springs, Colo.) serve notice that she will be a force to be reckoned with for any woman trying to make the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team in Weightlifting."I needed that one,"said Berube."I'm really happy, especially with my snatches. I should have made that last clean and jerk. I'm definitely going to need to make that at the Olympic Trials. It's a great feeling to have a good meet and to feel good and be on and to just know that I'm going to be ready. I just want to do my best and if I do, I think I have a good shot at making the team (2008 U.S. Olympic Team)."Yesterday was one of Berube's top performances since suffering a knee injury when a weight fell on her leg just prior to the 2006 World Weightlifting Championships. Berube had surgery to repair the knee following the 2006 World Championships and her first international competition following her surgery was the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Other National Champions crowned yesterday included Stacy Suyama (Torrance, Calif./Women's 48kg Weight Class), Shelton, Gilyard (Valrico, Fla../Men's 56kg Weight Class) who is attempting a comeback, Aaron Adams (Men's 62kg Weight Class) and Henry Brower (Bloomingdale, Ga./Men's 69kg Weight Class). The 2008 USA Weightlifting National Championships is being hosted by the Columbus Weightlifting Club, Inc. in conjunction with the annual Arnold Sports Festival at the Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. The National Championships is the final domestic event to determine athlete ranking prior to the Olympic Trials. Athletes must be ranked in the overall top 30 for both men and women to qualify for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials-Weightlifting. Fans not in Columbus can catch all of the action via the world-wide-web at www.usaweightlifting.com or at 63.241.144.243. With the approval of the U.S. Olympic Committee, the webcast is being provided by Network Foundation Technologies, LLC (NFT). 2008 USA Weightlifting National Championships Results: Saturday, March 1, 2008 Men's 77kg Weight Class Gold; Lance Frye (Mooretown, N.J.); 317kg total (142kg snatch; 175kg clean and jerk) Silver: Henry Woodard; 302kg total (140kg snatch; 162kg clean and jerk) Bronze; Justin Brimhall (Wichita Falls, Texas); 280kg total (130kg snatch; 150kg clean and jerk) Women's 63kg Weight Class Gold; Carissa Gump (Essex Junction, Vt./Colorado Springs, Colo.); 208kg total (88kg snatch; 120kg clean and jerk) Silver: Natalie Woolfolk (Arnold, Md./Colorado Springs, Colo.); 208kg total (95kg snatch; 113kg clean and jerk) Bronze; Vanessa McCoy (St. Joseph, Mo.); 171kg total (78kg snatch; 93kg clean and jerk) Men's 85kg Weight Class Gold; Innocent Ukpong (Houston, Texas); 318kg total (138kg snatch; 180kg clean and jerk) Silver: Travis Cooper; 313kg total (134kg snatch; 179kg clean and jerk) Bronze; William Roberts; 305kg total (135kg snatch; 170kg clean and jerk) Women's 69kg Weight Class Gold; Cara Heads (Costa Mesa Calif./Colorado Springs, Colo./Shreveport, La.); 206kg total (92kg snatch; 114kg clean and jerk) Silver: Doreen Fullhart (Lisco, Neb./Colorado Springs, Colo.); 201kg total (93kg snatch; 108kg clean and jerk) Bronze; Ingrid Marcum (Chicago, Ill.); 190kg total (87kg snatch; 103kg clean and jerk) Men's 94kg Weight Class Gold; Norik Vardanian (Colorado Springs, Colo.); 355kg total (155kg snatch; 200kg clean and jerk) Silver: Bobby Doyle (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Air Force Academy); 318kg total (140kg snatch; 178kg clean and jerk) Bronze; Matt Devine; 318kg total (135kg snatch; 178kg clean and jerk) Friday, February 29, 2008 Women's 48kg Weight Class Gold; Stacy Suyama (Torrance, Calif.); 156kg total (73kg snatch; 83kg clean and jerk) Silver: Kelly Polly (Atlanta, Ga.); 149kg total (65kg snatch; 84kg clean and jerk) Bronze; Heather Snethen (St. Joseph, Mo./Colorado Springs, Colo.); 135kg total (60kg snatch; 75kg clean and jerk) Men's 56kg Weight Class Gold; Shelton, Gilyard (Valrico, Fla..); 197kg total (85kg snatch; 112kg clean and jerk) Silver: J.T. Barnett (Altamonte Springs, Fla.); 189kg total (81kg snatch; 108kg clean and jerk) Bronze; Christian Calub; 188kg total (85kg snatch; 103kg clean and jerk) Men's 62kg Weight Class Gold; Aaron Adams; 250kg total (107kg snatch; 143kg clean and jerk) Silver: Kyle Yamauchi; 249kg total (110kg snatch; 139kg clean and jerk) Bronze; Nghiep Dinh; 245kg total (110kg snatch; 135kg clean and jerk) Women's 53kg Weight Class Gold; Melanie Roach (Bonney Lake, Wash.); 183kg total (78kg snatch; 105kg clean and jerk) Silver: Niki Myles; 162kg total (75kg snatch; 87kg clean and jerk) Bronze; Jennifer Pejo (Colorado Springs, Colo.); 151kg total (64kg snatch; 87kg clean and jerk) Men's 69kg Weight Class Gold; Henry Brower (Bloomingdale, Ga.); 293kg total (130kg snatch; 163kg clean and jerk) Silver: Caleb Williams (Atlanta, Ga.); 263kg total (113kg snatch; 150kg clean and jerk) Bronze; Christopher Yorkowitz; 257kg total (119kg snatch; 138kg clean and jerk) Women's 58kg Weight Class Gold; Jackie Berube (Escanaba, Mich./Colorado Springs, Colo.); 194kg total (89kg snatch; 105kg clean and jerk) Silver: Amanda Hubbard (Atlanta, Ga./Colorado Springs, Colo.); 185kg total (100kg snatch; 87kg clean and jerk) Bronze; Hilary Katzenmeier; 167kg total (74kg snatch; 93kg clean and jerk) For complete results for the 2008 USA Weightlifting National Championships, please visit www.usaweightlifting.org. The remaining schedule for the 2008 USA Weightlifting National Championships is as follows: Sunday, March 2, 2008 Time; Event 10:00 a.m.; Women's 75kg Weight Class and Women's 75+kg Weight Class-B Session 12:00 noon; Men's 105kg Weight Class 1:00 p.m.; Olympic style weightlifting exhibition with Chinese and U.S. weightlifters 2:30 p.m. Women's 75+kg Weight Class-A Session 4:30 p.m. Men's 105+kg Weight Class A delegation from the Chinese Weightlifting Association along with representative athletes of USA Weightlifting will conduct an Olympic style weightlifting demonstration on the Expo stage of the Arnold Sports Festival on Sunday, March 2 from 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. as Chinese weightlifters Zhang Jie and Lu Changlia lift alongside Americans Derrick Johnson (St. Louis, Mo.), Henry Woodard, Heather Snethen (St. Joseph, Mo./Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Samantha Turnbull. Jie and Changlia are two of China's top young weightlifters. Jie is the 2005 Asian Weightlifting Champion and the 2007 Junior World Champion in the in the men's 62kg weight class. Changliang, is also a Junior World Champion (men's 77kg weight class) and was also a two-time silver medalist at the Junior World Championships. Lu Zhiwang, Li Hao and Hong Jiaxin are the Chinese coaches that have traveled to Columbus with their athletes for this Olympic style weightlifting exhibition. The United States women have qualified for the maximum of four competition slots for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The number of 2008 Olympic slots was determined by combined team placement at the 2006 and 2007 World Weightlifting Championships. The 2006 World Weightlifting Championships was held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, September 30-October 7, 2006 and the 2007 World Weightlifting Championships were held in Chiang Mai, Thailand, September 17-26, 2007. The USA women qualified for the maximum of four Olympic slots based on their final placing of eighth as a team from a combined formula of the 2006 and 2007 World Championships. The USA women had originally placed ninth, but their team ranking improved by one position following the recalculation of team points after doping positives were discovered for teams that had originally placed above the United States. Christmas of 2007 was not as kind to the USA men as the grinch (in the form of the International Weightlifting Federation website) visited, taking away the three Olympic slots that the team had thought they had secured with their performances at the 2006 and 2007 World Weightlifting Championships. At the conclusion of the 2007 World Weightlifting Championships in Chiang Mai, Thailand the U.S. men sat in position to secure three Olympic slots with a 27th place combined team finish, making the U.S. the final country to qualify slots for the Olympic Games. As was the case with the women, teams above the U.S. had athletes that received doping positives. Despite no one on the U.S. team testing positive, the U.S. men dropped one position in the overall team rankings when team totals were recalculated, thus losing the three Olympic slots they thought they had earned. The shift in order, due to doping positives by athletes in teams that finished above Team USA, caused a re-shuffling of team points and the final mathematical breakdown moved Chinese Taipei above the United States. The U.S. men will still have the opportunity to qualify two Olympic slots through the Pan American Regional Olympic Qualifying event which is the 2008 Pan American Weightlifting Championships that will be held March 17-22 in Callao, Peru. To qualify for the two Olympic slots, the eight member USA team must finish ranked first or second as a team. For the eight men that will represent the United States at the 2008 Pan American Weightlifting Championships, this event will count as their National Championships in regards to ranking going into the Olympic Trials. A total of 260 athletes will compete in the sport of weightlifting at the 2008 Olympic Games. In accordance with the rules of the International Weightlifting Federation, a country could qualify to enter a maximum of six men and four women for the 2008 Olympic Games. USA Weightlifting will hold the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, May 16-17 in Atlanta, Ga. to determine which athletes will fill the slots it has earned on the women's side and will earn on the men's side. USA Weightlifting will send a team of eight top ranked weightlifters to what promises to be a pressure packed event with Olympic qualification on the line at the 2008 Pan American Weightlifting Championships in Callao, Peru, March 17-22. 2008 USA Weightlifting Pan American Championships Men's Team Derrick Johnson (St. Louis, Mo.), 62kg Weight Class Chad Vaughn (Konawa, Okla./Norman, Okla.), 77kg Weight Class Matt Bruce (Baton Rouge, La.), 77kg Weight Class Kendrick Farris (Shreveport, La.), 85kg Weight Class Zach Krych (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 85kg Weight Class Jeff Wittmer (Florissant, Mo.), 94kg Weight Class Casey Burgener (Bonsall, Calif./Colorado Springs, Colo.), 105+kg Weight Class Zach Schluender (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 105+Weight Class Head Coach: Paul Fleschler (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Assistant Coach: Dennis Snethen (St. Joseph, Mo.) Team Leader: Kyle Pierce (Shreveport, La.) For more information, please contact Cecil Bleiker, USOC Manager of NGB Media Services in the USOC Media , Public Relations Division at 719-330-2062. This press release is also available on the USOC's media specific website at www.usocpressbox.org.