DENVER – The 2021 Nike North American Open Series powered by Rogue comes to a conclusion this weekend in the home state of USA Weightlifting, featuring a surprise star-studded field that includes half the members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Team.
Olympic silver medalist Kate Nye (81kg; Berkley, Mich.) and Mattie Rogers (81kg; Apopka, Fla.) return to competition a few weeks after scoring gold medals at the Pan American Championship in Guayaquil, Ecuador. This is Nye’s first time competing at the North American Open Finals in three years. Meanwhile, CJ Cummings (81kg; Beaufort, S.C.) and Jourdan Delacruz (55kg; Wylie, Texas) will step onto the platform for the first time since the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 four months ago.
In a recent change of events, eight athletes on the U.S. team for the 2021 IWF World Championships will be competing at the North American Open Finals. Athletes were given this option on Wednesday and Thursday due to concerns and complications surrounding the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant and travel restrictions in place for those entering Uzbekistan and re-entering the United States.
The world team members lifting in Denver also include Beau Brown (89kg; Omaha, Neb.), Cicely Kyle (45kg; Pensacola, Fla.), Juliana Riotto (87kg; Canandaigua, N.Y.) and Ryan Sester (102kg; Gresham, Ore.).
Riotto and Rogers will then compete at the World Championships in Tashkent, scheduled for Dec. 7-17.
Rogers and fellow world team member Jessie Stemo (81kg; Milwaukee, Wis.) are also coaching at the Finals.
Athletes will contend for titles across all 20 body-weight categories from Friday morning, Dec. 3, through Sunday evening, Dec. 5. This week marks the first-ever in-person North American Open Finals. The longstanding competition was renamed from American Open to North American Open in 2020, to include athletes from Canada, though the 2020 Finals was held virtually.
The 576 athletes slated to compete at this week’s meet truly demonstrate that weightlifting is for “anyone, anywhere.”
The youngest competitor is 12 years old, while the oldest in the field is 78. Lifters hail from 46 states, plus the District of Columbia.
California has the highest number of athletes, followed closely by Florida.
South Atlantic is the most represented region with nearly 26 percent of competitors hailing from Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
All athletes reside in the U.S., though the entrants include citizens from Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Guatemala, Chinese Taipei and Uruguay.
While many of the athletes competing at the Finals will be embracing the spotlight of such a prestigious stage for the first time, the field also includes over a dozen who have represented Team USA abroad in the past two months. Youth World Championships team members include Kyle Martin Jr. (81kg; Fleetwood, Pa.) and Haley Trinh (64kg; San Francisco, Calif.). Junior Pan American Championship team members include Natalie Andrews (71kg; Broad Run, Va.), Blaine Brooks (81kg; Dallas, Texas), Leila Cook (55kg; Chicago, Ill.), Hannah Dunn (55kg; East Bend, N.C.), Diana Irizarry (59kg; Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Mario Marquez (67kg; Mission, Fla.). Pan American Championship team members include Brown, Nye, Rogers, Sester, Mary Theisen-Lappen (+87kg; Eau Claire, Wis.) and Jordan Wissinger (73kg; Hamburg, Pa.).
All 61 sessions will be streamed live at usaw.live.
Below is a schedule of when each weight class will conclude:
Friday, Dec. 3:
Women’s 45kg, men’s 55kg, women’s 55kg, women’s 49kg, women’s 59kg, men’s 61kg, men’s 67kg, men’s 73kg
Saturday, Dec. 4:
Women’s 64kg, women’s 71kg, men’s 89kg, men’s 81kg
Sunday, Dec. 5:
Men’s 96kg, women’s 76kg, women’s 81kg, men’s 102kg, men’s 109kg, women’s 87kg, men’s +109kg, women’s +87kg