DENVER – The 2021 Nike North American Open Finals powered by Rogue wrapped earlier this week with 92 medalists, the return of some of the sport’s most recognizable faces, dreams realized for some fresh faces and three youth American records set.
The Finals, which featured 530 athletes (62 more women than men), also marked the close of the qualification period for seven international competitions that will be held between February and May of 2022, and in some cases largely influenced the rankings. The meets whose rankings are now final for both men and women include the youth and junior world championships, U15 and U17 Pan American Championships, New Zealand International, Singapore Weightlifting International and XL Torneo Int. “Manuel Suárez In Memoriam” that will be held in Cuba.
Medals were awarded in the snatch, clean and jerk and total across 10 men’s and 10 women’s body-weight categories. Video replay of every session can be found at USA Weightlifting’s video hub.
The average age of the 20 athletes who won gold in the total categories is 26.2 years. Eight of those 20 set new personal bests for their totals in Denver, while another three were competing in their categories for the first time.
Tayon Vereen, who won the men’s +109kg, went six for six for the first time in his lengthy career and set a new personal best total by a massive 15 kilograms.
The 45 men who earned spots on the podium at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel range in age from 17 (Timothy Davis Jr., Keshav Nair, Dominik Polverini, Colin Reis) to 40 (Ajay Goel), while the women span a gap of 18 (Natalie Andrews) to 37 (Cicely Kyle).
Reis broke a five-year youth American record with his 182kg lift in the 16-17 +102kg category, while Davis met the 16-17 96kg snatch record standard of 151kg and Sarah Uschmann added her name to the record books with a 14-15 +76kg snatch of 92kg – all of which went down on Sunday.
East Coast Gold Weightlifting 1, led in results by men’s 96kg gold medalist Phil Sabatini, was the team winner, followed by silver medalist Philadelphia Barbell and bronze medalist Gryphon Strength Barbell. East Coast Gold Weightlifting 2 and Florida Elite tied for fourth.
Four Olympians – half the 2020 U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Team – competed, as did eight total members of the team for the 2021 IWF World Championships, most of whom rerouted their plans from competing in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to Denver, Colorado. All of them medaled.
CJ Cummings swept the men’s 81kg golds in his debut at that weight, while Jourdan Delacruz swept the women’s 55kg bronzes, both in their return to the competition stage for the first time since the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Fellow Olympians Kate Nye and Mattie Rogers went head to head in the women’s 81kg, with Rogers taking gold in the snatch and total, and silver in the clean and jerk, and Nye earning gold in the clean and jerk, and silver in the snatch and total.
Cummings and Rogers were also named Best Male Lifter and Best Female Lifter of the meet, based on their Sinclair coefficients.
Fellow world team members Kyle and Ryan Sester also swept the golds in the women’s 45kg and men’s 102kg, respectively, while Juliana Riotto won gold in both the clean and jerk and total, and bronze in snatch, in the women’s 87kg, and Beau Brown earned the men’s 89kg total bronze.
Rogers and Riotto will compete in Tashkent at 9 a.m. ET on Dec. 14 and Dec. 16, respectively. Watch live at usaw.live.
The Finals also highlighted the success of USA Weightlifting’s recruitment efforts, specifically the Transitional Athlete Program.
More than a handful of medalists rose through the weightlifting ranks via the program, including Sung An (men’s +109kg snatch and total bronze), Ceara Gray (women’s 81kg clean and jerk bronze), Shayla Moore (women’s 55kg snatch, clean and jerk, total gold), Riotto (women’s 87kg snatch bronze, clean and jerk and total gold), Allee Tallman (women’s 76kg snatch, clean and jerk, total gold) and Mary Theisen-Lappen (women’s +87kg snatch, clean and jerk, total gold). Their backgrounds include sports such as acrobatics and tumbling, rugby and track and field.
Subscribe to the USA Weightlifting Podcast to hear next week’s episode recapping the North American Open Finals, featuring Olympians and hosts Cheryl Haworth and Chad Vaughn with special guests JP Nicoletta, USA Weightlifting coaching education manager, and Pedro Meloni, USA Weightlifting director of events and sponsorship.