TOKYO, Japan (July 28, 2021) -- CJ Cummings took the Tokyo 2020 stage for Team USA in the 73kg body weight category, Wednesday evening at the Tokyo International Forum.
The 21-year-old, Beaufort, South Carolina native is Team USA Weightlifting’s youngest athlete in as many years. At the Sydney Games in 2000, Oscar Chaplin III competed at age 20 and Cheryl Haworth was only 17.
Cummings struggled in the Snatch portion of his competition, making only his second attempt at 145kg. He missed his 150kg third Snatch attempt, below his American Record of 155kg in the lift, which he made earlier this year at the Pan American Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
“I felt short and behind for the rest of the competition,” CJ said of his performance in the Snatch portion of the competition. “Clean and Jerk is my strong suit, so I felt like my Snatches messed me up this time.”
Cummings opened with a strong 180kg Clean and Jerk to secure a total of 325kg before taking a 10kg jump to try 190kg on his second attempt. He missed the lift, but he and his coaches requested more weight to try for the bronze medal.
“I had to fight uphill. My coach laid it out. It was this or nothing. The 198kg Clean and Jerk didn’t go my way today, but it’s motivation for the future.”
The 198kg third Clean and Jerk attempt would’ve been an American, Pan American and Olympic record, but it proved too heavy for Cummings. His 325kg total earned him 9th place in the competition.
“I feel disappointed in my performance, but I know everyone is going to say they’re proud of me,” Cummings said. “This is my first Olympics and I had high expectations for myself.”
Cummings looks forward to returning to training and hopes to take the international platform again soon.
“I’m not done. This was a learning competition. I’ll take this and learn and grow. I’m still young, and I’ll be back.”
He’ll travel Thursday to Honolulu, Hawaii where his friends, family and teammates will welcome him home to the United States at USA Weightlifting’s Tokyo Strong camp.
Harrison Maurus is next to compete for Team USA Weightlifting. He’ll take the platform in the 81kg body weight category on Saturday, July 31st at 3:50pm local time/ 2:50am Eastern time.
The remaining five members of Team USA, Kate Nye, Mattie Rogers, Sarah Robles, Wes Kitts and Caine Wilkes, will round out the competition for USA Weightlifting next week.