USA Weightlifting Features USA Weightlifting Ho...

USA Weightlifting Holds Largest Online Competition Ever

By Kevin Farley | Dec. 07, 2020, 12:53 a.m. (ET)


Coaches from Texas Barbell club strategize and load the bar as athletes compete in the world's largest online Olympic Weightlifting competition hosted by USA Weightlifting. Austin Barbell opened its doors to local clubs, including Texas Barbell and UT Weightlifting to participate in the online competition along with their own athletes. 


Gyms, home garages and even kitchens transformed this weekend into the venue of Olympic Weightlifting’s largest online competition ever as USA Weightlifting held its 2020 National Championships, American Open Finals and National Youth Championships December 3-6.


Scheduled to be held in-person in Atlanta over the same dates, the competition transitioned to an online format, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the Nationals and Youth National Championships, this was the second rescheduling, from May and July, respectively, due to the pandemic.


“With athlete safety paramount at USA Weightlifting, and in consultation with our own medical experts and those outside of our organization, holding this meet online was the right choice to make, even though it was a difficult one,” USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews said. 


Nine-hundred ninety-one athletes from nearly every state registered for this competition, which is the largest online meet held by the sport in history. The meet also crossed international boundaries, with technical officials, coaches and athletes hailing from Canada.


The usual noise and buzz in the warm-up area of an in-person meet was replaced with the occasional cheer from a coach, or the voice of the session’s speaker coming from the Zoom meeting platform. 


While Zoom stood-in for a convention center or other event place, the differences between the online competition and a traditional weightlifting meet weren’t as stark as you may think. 


First, the online competition follows the International Weightlifting Federation’s (IWF) Technical and Competition Rules & Regulations (TCRR), with only slight modifications. Weight changes and declarations had to be made in accordance with the TCRR but coaches used a Zoom chat box instead of a card on a table, like would happen at an in-person competition. 


Athlete weigh-ins were conducted like normal, happening two hours prior to competition. For this competition, athletes were required to wear a singlet and were given a .5kg allowance in their weight, to account for the singlet. With no two scales the same, athletes were required to show their scale was calibrated, within .5kg, by placing two 25kg plates on their scale. 


“We tried to strike a balance with the competition rules. We had to make the meet as equitable as possible, but also to be realistic in what we can ask our members to agree with. We are trying to keep the sport and the competition accessible to our members across the country,” USA Weightlifting Director of Events and Sponsorships Pedro Meloni said. 


Unlike other online Olympic Weightlifting competitions held since the pandemic began, USA Weightlifting stayed with tradition for the flow of the competition. Other online events followed a round-robin model, where athletes would declare their changes on a clock prior to the first, second and third attempts, then lift in order by weight. For USA Weightlifting’s meet, it followed the IWF TCRR with athletes lifting in order of weight declared, regardless of which attempt the athlete is on. 


“It’s always been our goal to try to make these events as familiar as possible,” Andrews said. “We owe it to our community to foster an atmosphere that is familiar, albeit in a slightly altered format.” 


Like in-person competitions, athletes will not be able to escape their anti-doping responsibilities. USA Weightlifting worked with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to test a pool of athletes just like they would during a traditional weightlifting competition.


More than bragging rights were on the line. For some of USA’s elite athletes, this meet served as a qualification event for future international competitions and qualifiers for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. 


While the online format doesn’t allow for new records to be set, that didn’t stop athletes from breaking their own personal bests, and in one case, a youth world record standard. In the women’s youth 16-17 71kg competition, Olivia Reeves matched two IWF Youth World Record standards in snatch and clean and jerk with 102kg and 126kg respectively. She broke the record standard with her 228kg total. She will have to wait until an IWF-sanctioned event to etch her name into the weightlifting record books.


2020 National Champions


Men

61kg   Carlos MILLEN 

67kg   Jacob HORST 

73kg   Clarence CUMMINGS 

81kg   Harrison MAURUS 

89kg   Travis COOPER 

96kg   Nathan DAMRON

102kg  Thomas DUER 

109kg  Wes KITTS 

+109kg Keiser WITTE 


Women

45kg   Cicely KYLE 

49kg   Jourdan DELACRUZ

55kg   Jessica SAXON 

59kg   Kelly WILD 

64kg   Mathlynn SASSER 

71kg   Meredith ALWINE 

76kg   Martha ROGERS 

81kg   Jessie STEMO 

87kg   Juliana RIOTTO 

+87kg  Sarah ROBLES



2020 National Youth Champions


11U Girls

30kg Aurora VAN ULFT 

33kg Mahealani MASON 

36kg Adelyn JONES 

40kg Emily Ibanez Guerrero 

45kg Harmony REED 

49kg Devoney VILLANUEVA 

55kg Ireland SULLIVAN 

59kg Amelia PHILLIPS 

64kg Kodi MCBRIDE 

13U Girls

30kg Aurora VAN ULFT 

33kg Mahealani MASON 

36kg Adelyn JONES 

40kg Emily IBANEZ GUERRERO 

45kg Madyson ASTROLOGES 

49kg Caitlin Rose EVERETT 

55kg Emma HECK 

59kg Brooklynn SITTNER 

64kg Violet JOHNSON 

+64kg Olivia BOND

11U Boys

32kg Diego YOO 

36kg Jaimon MOGARD 

39kg Desmond MYLES 

44kg Bret TOM 

49kg Nichola LUNA 

55kg Finn MALOUF 

61kg A.w. VANKIRK 

67kg Andrew REID 

+73kg Micah MARQUEZ 

13U Boys

32kg Diego YOO 

36kg Jaimon MOGARD 

39kg Daniel MARQUEZ 

44kg Bret TOM 

49kg Emery GREENE 

55kg Ryan MCDONALD 

61kg Ryker MATTES 

67kg Tevin AUSTELL 

73kg Kale BUNCE 

+73kg Corey ROBINSON 


14-15 Girls

40kg Annaka WHITTEY 

45kg Cailin BANGERTER 

49kg Jaycee MANN 

55kg Kaiya Bryant 

59kg Bianca Miller 

64kg Mia BARCELO 

71kg Isabella RIVERA 

76kg Andie ZELAYA 

+76kg Malia LEVY 


14-15 Boys

44kg Logan LOCKWOOD 

49kg Vincent DEPALO 

55kg Range ROBINSON 

61kg Eli MEADS 

67kg Johnathan BEAUCHAMP 

73kg Cannon FAUER 

81kg Kyle MARTIN JR 

89kg Demetrius BROWN 

+89kg Hanale KAUHAAHAA 


16-17 Girls

45kg Alyssa DEPALO 

49kg Hannah DUNN 

55kg Katharine ESTEP 

59kg Mallory GARZA 

64kg Haley TRINH 

71kg Olivia REEVES 

76kg  Alyssa BALLARD 

81kg Brianna MAMAC 

+81kg Amanda ROBLES 



16-17 Boys

49kg Trevor TANAKA 

55kg Ricardo MACARIO GARCIA 

61kg Kye BRYANT 

67kg Hampton MORRIS 

73kg Alec PAGANUZZI 

81kg Preston POWELL 

89kg Timothy DAVIS 

96kg Morgan MUCCULLOUGH 

102kg    Jonathan LIVINGSTON 

+102 Jacob MELANDER



Kevin Farley

Kevin Farley is the Senior Director of Engagement at USA Weightlifting. He joined the organization in 2016.