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Who is ... Kendrick Farris?

Kendrick Farris at the 2015 Pan American Games.
Tom Szczerbowski

Who is ... Kendrick Farris?

Meet the United States’ only male weightlifting athlete at Rio 2016, two-time Olympian Kendrick Farris. 

Who is Kendrick Farris?

Kendrick Farris is the United States’ only male weightlifter to earn a spot at the Rio Olympics. He made his International Weightlifting Federation-recognized debut in 2004 at the Junior World Championships in the 77kg (170 lbs) division, but subsequently competed in the 85kg (187 lbs) category for a number of years. Beginning in 2015, Farris bulked up to the 94kg division.

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Farris has more Olympic experience than any other United States weightlifter competing in Rio. At the 2008 Beijing Games, Farris placed eighth in the 85kg division with a 362.0kg (798 lbs) total lift; at the 2012 London Games, Farris placed tenth in the same category with a 355.0kg (783 lbs) total.


Farris was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. He took up weightlifting around age 11 after his uncle read a newspaper article about a local weightlifting center for young athletes. By 16 years old, Farris had given up on football and basketball to focus exclusively on his lifts. 

During the 2004 Athens Games, an 18-year-old Farris worked in a restaurant. One of his co-workers noticed the Olympic weightlifting competition on television and asked Farris, “Isn’t this what you do?” Farris says it was a sign that he should take up the sport professionally.  

Farris has a communications degree from Louisiana State University. 

Kendrick Farris after lifting.

Kendrick Farris after lifting. Credit: Tom Szczerbowski

Major competitions:

Farris has consistently performed well at national competitions and made appearances on behalf of the United States at World Championships. He also competed at the Beijing 2008 Games and the London 2012 Games.


Best snatch: 165.0kg (364 lbs), 2015 World Championships – 94kg division
Best clean and jerk: 211.0kg (465 lbs), 2013 Summer Universiade – 94kg division 
Best overall total: 372.0kg (820 lbs), 2013 Summer Universiade – 94kg division


Pan-American Championships/Games results: 

2008 Pan-American Championships: 347.0kg (765 lbs) total, 85kg division – Fourth place
2010 Pan-American Championships: 362.0kg (798 lbs) total, 85kg division – First place
2011 Pan-American Games: 348.0kg (767 lbs) total, 85kg division – Third place
2012 Pan-American Championships: 337.0kg (743 lbs) total, 85kg division – Fifth place
2015 Pan-American Games: 366.0kg (807 lbs) total, 94kg division – First place
2016 Pan-American Championships: 364.0kg (802 lbs) total, 94kg division – First place 


Farris has competed at the 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2015 World Championships.

You can view a complete list of Farris’ results on the IWF’s website, here

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Olympic experience:

2008 Beijing: 362.0kg (798 lbs) total, 85kg division – Eighth place
2012 London: 355.0kg (783 lbs) total, 85kg division – Tenth place

Personal life: 
Farris is deeply religious. He takes inspiration from his family: mother Monica, father/coach Kyle Pierce, wife Katrina and sons Khalil and Kingsley.

In his spare time, Farris enjoys playing video games, travelling, and making videos. He has also performed stand up comedy. 

Farris is a tattoo enthusiast. He has over 20 illustrations over his body.


Before competing, Farris often meditates. 


According to his International Weightlifting Federation profile, Farris is sometimes called “King of the Platform”. 

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Top quote: 

On persistence:

“Weightlifting is a ritual of life. Every day is not going to be a sunny day. If every day was a sunny day, it wouldn’t be a sunny day. It would just be a day. There’s up and downs, just like there are in life. You’ve got to keep your eyes on the goal and keep chugging along." 

– Kendrick Farris 


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