TOKYO (Aug. 2, 2021) – Mattie Rogers (87kg; Apopka, Fla.; Team USA/Catalyst Athletics) displayed the grit and determination that has brought her IWF World Championship medals for three years running when she competed in the women’s 87kg A session on Monday at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Making her Olympic debut, Rogers placed sixth at the Tokyo International Forum in a category that far exceeds her natural bodyweight.
Rogers, who has medaled in the 69kg and 71kg categories at the World Championships, had to move up a few classes in order to qualify for the Tokyo Games.
“I thought I was prepared for it,” Rogers said of the change. “Watching the 76kg class, which is my actual class, my bodyweight is 77kg, was a gut-punch because I felt like that’s where I really belonged and I wanted to see where I stacked up against people my own size. But that’s not an excuse to not do great in any weight class. It just wasn’t my day.”
In her first international competition at 87kg, Rogers successfully made her very first Olympic lift of 108kg. She then missed her second Snatch attempt of 111kg, which would have set the American record.
Her third attempt – 112kg – was ruled a good lift before the jury overturned it, citing a press-out on her left elbow.
“I’ve been struggling with my anxiety the last couple days and I think it’s just all caught up to me a little bit.,” she explained. “That last lift getting overturned just set it into a spiral. I think had I made that I would’ve had a better shot to fight for a medal. I think it would’ve been a very different day had that lift not gotten overturned.”
In the Clean and Jerk, Rogers missed her first two attempts at 138kg before digging deep and making a successful lift on her third and final attempt at that weight that left her in tears on the Olympic platform.
“I was just happy to make it honestly,” Rogers said of her Clean and Jerks. “We were ready to fight for whatever we needed to win a medal, so that was not that fight I expected to have to do. But I’m happy I made one of them.”
Rogers’ total of 246kg landed her in sixth place – one kilogram away from fifth and 10 from the podium.
China’s Wang Zhouyu won gold with a 270kg total for the country’s sixth Olympic victory in Tokyo. She was joined on the podium by Ecuador’s Tamara Salazar (263kg) and Crismery Santana (256kg) of the Dominican Republic. Salazar set two new Pan American records: 150kg Clean and Jerk and 263kg total.
Though Rogers missed out on the medal she was hoping for, she remains one of the United States’ most accomplished weightlifters.
Following careers in gymnastics and cheerleading, Rogers tried CrossFit and eventually Olympic weightlifting. At her second IWF World Championships in 2017, Rogers became the first U.S. woman to win a World medal in 12 years when she earned silver in the Snatch and total, and bronze in the Clean and Jerk at 69kg.
She continued succeeding at World Championships, taking the 71kg Clean and Jerk bronze the following year. In 2019, Rogers won silvers in Clean and Jerk and total at 71kg, plus bronze in the Snatch. She is the only U.S. woman to medal at three consecutive World Championships.
Prior to that success, Rogers narrowly missed out on making the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team and traveled to Rio as an alternate.
“I’m glad to be an Olympian,” she said. “I just wish I had a better day. I know I was capable of having a better day.”
Teammate Sarah Robles will take the Tokyo 2020 platform in the +87kg category later Monday. Wes Kitts competes on Tuesday in the 109kg category, and Caine Wilkes will round out the competition for Team USA on Wednesday in the +109kg category.