TOKYO, Japan (July 31, 2021) -- Harrison Maurus has the best finish for an American man in the Olympic Games in 33 years, coming in fourth place in the 81kg category in his Olympic debut on Saturday at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Mario Martinez was the last American to come as close to the podium in 1988; Martinez is also the last U.S. man to medal, which he did in 1984.
Maurus looked strong in the Snatch portion of the competition, making all three of his attempts, including a personal best of 161kg on his third; it was a number he’d recently hit in training, and knew he could pull off on the Olympic platform. His previous best competition Snatch was 158kg.
Going into the Clean and Jerk portion of the competition, Maurus sat in eighth place, but has always been confident and consistent in the lift. He made his opening Clean and Jerk attempt of 195kg before matching his current American Record in the lift at 200kg on his second.
“It was just the perfect storm. Everything came together great and they were numbers we were really confident in and it worked,” said Maurus.
Maurus went for 205kg on his last Clean and Jerk attempt, the number that would have put him in bronze medal position, but missed. His 361kg total is a new American Record, besting his previous record of 357kg set at the 2018 World Championships in Turkmenistan.
“Being on the Olympic stage changed everything,” Maurus told USA Weightlifting. “That I felt great out there. It was probably one of my most consistent meets I’ve had, ever.”
The 21-year-old Auburn, Washington native has trained for the last half of this quad with Spencer Arnold of Power and Grace Performance in Atlanta Georgia. He told USA Weightlifting, joining the team there gave him the motivation he needed to keep up the rigors of training for the Games through a pandemic.
“Spencer and I have worked really hard to make sure we’re in a good position where we can fight like this. Mike and Pyrros are obviously excellent in the back, and they’ve managed it as best they could. There’s nothing I think they could’ve done better, at all.”
Maurus’ biggest supporters joined USA Weightlifting’s Tokyo Strong camp in Hawaii, where they cheered him on from as close as they could get to Tokyo due to Japan’s strict COVID-19 restrictions.
“It wasn’t too terrifying,” said Maurus’ father, Jim Maurus of watching his son on the Olympic stage. “We’ve had edge-of-the-seat moments before, but this was actually the pinnacle and he didn’t have to win to move on.”
Team USA weightlifting’s Kate Nye (76kg, 2019 World Champion) will take the Tokyo 2020 platform tomorrow at 7:50 p.m. (6:50 a.m. ET), followed by teammates Mattie Rogers (87kg), Sarah Robles (+87kg, 2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist; 2017 World Champion), Wes Kitts (109kg) and Caine Wilkes (+109kg).