TBILISI, Georgia – The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) crowned American CJ Cummings as champion of the IWF Junior World Championships Monday.
Cummings won the title in the 69kg men’s category, the first American to win Junior Worlds since two-time Olympian Oscar Chaplin III did it in 2000 in Prague, Czech Republic.
Beyond taking the title, Cummings, 16, broke three youth world records. He first broke the youth world record with a 175kg clean and jerk and then broke it again with a 180kg lift. Cummings claimed his third youth world record by lifting a total of 317kg. Cummings is the first American to break a youth world record. The last female American to break a world record (Senior) was Olympian Robin Byrd-Goad in 1994, and last male American to break a world record (Junior) was Artie Drechsler in 1970.
"Winning felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders," Cummings told USA Weightlifting. "Now I am going to focus on my training for the Youth Worlds," Cummings said.
Cummings’ successes come as USA Weightlifting continues to develop and support top-performing athletes.
“Our talent pool is expanding and we are proving that our athletes are competitive internationally,” Carissa Gump, USA Weightlifting Associate Executive Director of Business and Development said. “Our efforts in youth development for the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games can be seen by the successes of our current youth and junior athletes,” Gump said.
Cummings claimed gold in the clean and jerk and placed fourth in the snatch with 137kg on body weight. His accomplishments reverberated in Georgia and around the world.
“It was amazing. Simply amazing,” Team USA Coach Travis Mash said from Tbilisi. “I've never been more proud to be an American,” Mash said.
Friends, family and fans cheered on Cummings from here in the United States, especially in his hometown of Beaufort, South Carolina.
“I’m so proud of my brother,” CJ’s sister Crystal told USA Weightlifting on Twitter. “I’m still screaming around the house,” Crystal said. Crystal said she spoke with CJ after the competition and said he was all smiles and ready to eat.