USA Weightlifting on Wednesday named the roster of athletes who will represent the United States on the Tokyo Olympic weightlifting platform. The Olympic team features the maximum number of athletes, four men and four women, that any country can enter into Olympic competition. The roster also features multiple medal contenders in a sport where the U.S. has only managed one Olympic medal in the past 20 years. The eight athletes are:
That single U.S. Olympic medal in the last two decades belongs to Robles, who won bronze in the women’s super heavyweight division at the 2016 Rio Games. Since then, the Southern California native has familiarized herself with the top step of the podium. She won gold medals at the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships and 2019 Pan American Games in the women’s 87+ kg/191+ lbs. weight class. Robles will participate in her third Olympic Games in Tokyo at the age of 33.
Former child prodigy Clarence “CJ” Cummings, Jr. will make his highly anticipated Olympic debut in Tokyo as a 21-year-old. He is a four-time junior world champion and a 2019 Pan American champion. As an 11-year-old in Beaufort, South Carolina, Cummings became the youngest weightlifter ever to lift twice his body weight in the clean & jerk. He is currently ranked second in the world in the men’s 73 kg/160 lbs. division and hopes to become the first American man to win an Olympic medal since 1984.
“I’m from a small town where there’s barely any opportunity, so this opportunity for exposure and to go represent my country at the Olympics is a huge honor, not only for me but for my family, country and small town,” Cummings said in a statement.
The U.S. boasts another former world champion, albeit in a non-Olympic event, in 22-year-old Kate Nye. Nye won the 2019 world title in the women’s 71 kg/157 lbs. division, but will move up to the 76 kg/167 lbs. class which competes at the Olympics. She is currently ranked fourth in the world in that division. Nye is also an advocate for mental health awareness, revealing on her Instagram in 2019 that she had been diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder and mild ADHD.
Rogers, a former cheerleader and gymnast growing up, found competitive weightlifting after getting into CrossFit training in high school. She narrowly missed qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics as a 20-year-old in the 69 kg weight class. Over the past five years she has ascended the ladder of bodyweight divisions and will compete in Tokyo in the women’s 87 kg/191 lbs. class. She is ranked second in the world in that event currently.
“I’ve been working and trying for so long, and I was so close to the last Olympics," Rogers said in a statement. "I sat in the stands and watched my session in Rio and that really fueled my fire. I’ve worked every day since towards this goal. To be named an Olympian is a dream come true.”
Self-dubbed “The Dragon,” Caine Wilkes began lifting weights at 12 years old to develop as a football player. Within a few years, he had committed 100 percent to the sport of weightlifting. The North Carolina native has never managed a top-10 finish at world championships, but he has three Pan American gold medals to his name. Wilkes will represent the U.S. in the superheavyweight Men’s 109+ kg/240+ lbs. division.
Delacruz was the star of last month’s Pan American Championships, setting continental records in the women’s 49 kg/108 lbs. division. Her 89 kg snatch, 111 kg clean & jerk and 200 kg total were all best-ever lifts across North, Central and South America. Delacruz will be 23 when she competes at the Olympics in Tokyo. She ranks sixth globally in her weight class.
University of Washington Husky Harrison Maurus will represent the United States in the men’s 81 kg/178 lbs. division, where he currently ranks ninth globally. Born February 2000, Maurus is the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic weightlifting team for Tokyo.
Wesley “Wes” Kitts racked up over 1,100 yards as a running back for the Austin Peay Governors in college before transitioning full-time to weightlifting. Kitts has gone on to win three gold medals at the Pan American Championships in the Men’s 109 kg/240 lbs. division. He will compete at his first Olympic Games in Tokyo at age 31.
The eight Olympians — along with close family, coaches and USA Weightlifting staff — will head to Honolulu, Hawaii, for a training camp in a COVID-19 secure bubble beginning in July. Hawaii was selected for its relative proximity to Japan in the Pacific. Select 2024 Olympic hopefuls will also receive invitations to the camp to gain valuable Olympic-level experience and coaching.