USA Weightlifting enjoyed many successes, both domestic and international, in 2016. The following is a brief retrospect of the year that was.
For the first time in many years, USA Weightlifting athletes landed on the podium at every international competition in 2016. The crowning achievement, Sarah Robles (+75kg) earning Bronze at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro. Her 6-for-6 performance gave Team USA its first Weightlifting Olympic medal since 2000 when trailblazers Tara Nott Cunningham won Gold and Cheryl Haworth won Bronze.
Beyond Robles epic session, Team USA performed well at the Olympic Games. Both Morghan King (48kg) and Jenny Arthur (75kg) set American Records in their sessions at their first Olympic Games. For Kendrick Farris (94kg), the Games in Rio marked his 3rd Olympic appearance. Farris says he is considering a fourth Olympic berth.
CJ Cummings (69kg) made history several times in 2016. At the Junior World Championships in June, Cummings became the first American male to set a weightlifting world record since 1970. His 180kg clean & jerk and 317kg total were new Youth World Records. Cummings became the first American since 2000 to win the Junior World Championships.
Cummings followed up this performance in November by setting a new Clean & Jerk Youth World record with a 182kg lift at the Youth World Championships in Penang, Malaysia. He went on to win the event and tie his Youth World Record in Total at 317kg. One month later, at the American Open in Orlando, Florida, Cummings clean & jerked 183kg, an unofficial world record. Cummings holds Youth, Junior and Senior American Records.
At the Pan American Championships, Marissa Klingseis (+75kg) secured bronze in the Snatch (107kg), Clean & Jerk (135kg) and Total (242kg). Mattie Rogers (69kg) secured silver in the Snatch (106kg), bronze in the Clean & Jerk (133kg) and silver in the Total (239kg).
Team USA scored 22 medals at the World University Championships in Merida, Mexico. Mattie Rogers (69kg) and Kerri Keegan (48kg) were both crowned World University Champion. Rogers set new American University Records in Snatch (103kg), Clean & Jerk (132kg) and Total (235kg.)
Teammate Caitlin Hogan (53kg) set new American University Records in Snatch (81kg), Clean & Jerk (107kg) and Total (151kg) as she went on to win three silver medals at the World University Championships.
American Records fell at every National event, including the 2016 National Championships and Olympic Team Trials in Salt Lake City, Utah.
These are just some of the highlights of Team USA in 2016.
USA Weightlifting as an organization underwent substantial changes in 2016. A re-structure in the spring led to the hiring of new staff. Led by CEO Phil Andrews, USA Weightlifting formed a talented team to help our members and grow our sport. Joining USA Weightlifting in 2016 were: Lance Williams, Associate Executive Director of Sport; Jake Strack Loertscher, Sports Administrator; Brad Suchorski, Membership Coordinator; Spencer Molnar, Sponsorship Manager; and Kevin Farley, Social Media & Website Coordinator.
New faces will join the team behind the team in 2017. Three-time Olympic Champion Pyrros Dimas joins the organization as technical director. Renowned coach Tamas Feher joins the organization as coaching education manager. Pedro Meloni, who organized the Weightlifting events at the Rio Olympic Games comes on board as senior events manager. Lorene Halford joins USA Weightlifting as Programs Administrator, Sport.
Our sport continues to grow. At more than 26,000 strong, membership was up 18% in 2016. That growth is expected to continue in the new year.
The Year Ahead
2017 brings new challenges and opportunities to USA Weightlifting and its athletes. From the 2017 IWF Weightlifting World Championships in Anaheim, to the new American Open Series, 2017 should be another great year for our sport.
Check back at USAWeightlifting.org on Thursday for a look ahead at 2017 and beyond.