How to qualify for the Paris Olympics in weightlifting

To qualify in weightlifting at the Paris Olympics, an athlete must rank in the top 10 of his or her weight class based on the official International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Olympic qualification rankings. The rankings are based on the highest total achieved at a number of IWF-sanctioned international competitions held since the Tokyo Olympics. 

Nations can only enter a maximum of one athlete per weight class. As a result, only one athlete per nation can appear on the IWF Olympic rankings. 

Nations can enter a maximum of six athletes (three men and three women) across all events at the Paris Olympics.

A total of 120 athletes will compete in weightlifting in Paris, 12 per weight class. 100 will qualify via the IWF Olympic rankings, while an additional 20 spots are reserved for a variety of other conditions, including host nation athletes and athletes from underrepresented regions. 

Athletes qualified from Team USA

Jourdan Delacruz, women's 49kg (108 lbs.)

One of two Olympic veterans on the U.S. roster, Jourdan Delacruz qualified for Paris as the fourth-ranked lifter in the women's 49kg (108 lbs.) weight class. The Dallas-area native is a two-time world medalist and holder of eight American records across three weight classes. Delacruz, 26, could threaten for a medal in Paris after coming up short in Tokyo. Despite posting the third-best snatch of the competition, she failed to complete a lift in the clean and jerk and was disqualified.

Wes Kitts, men's 102kg (225 lbs.)

Team USA's other Tokyo veteran is 34-year-old Tennessean Wes Kitts. The former college football running back at Austin Peay finished eighth at the Tokyo Games, setting the American record in the snatch in the process. While he did not crack the top 10 in the IWF Olympic qualification rankings for his weight class, Kitts was awarded a continental spot as the top-ranked men's 102kg lifter in the Pan-American region.

Hampton Morris, men's 61kg (135 lbs.)

It's been 40 years since an American won a men's Olympic weightlifting medal, but 20-year-old Hampton Morris could be the man to end the drought. Morris announced his arrival as one of the sport's exciting young athletes in April, when he broke the world record in the clean and jerk for the men's 61kg division, lifting 176kg (388 lbs.) at the IWF World Cup in Thailand. Morris, a native of Marietta, Georgia, heads to Paris ranked No. 2 in his weight class.

Olivia Reeves, women's 71kg (157 lbs.)

The U.S. has a bona fide weightlifting star in Olivia Reeves, who could be one of the breakout American names of the Paris Olympics. At just 21 years old, Reeves heads to France as the top-ranked lifter in the women's 71kg weight class and is a legitimate gold medal favorite. It won't be easy, and Reeves will have to out-lift more experienced competitors, but the Chattanooga native certainly has the talent and strength to vie for the top step of the podium.

Mary Theisen-Lappen, Women's 81+kg (179+ lbs.)

Wisconsin native Mary Theisen-Lappen is in the second chapter of her athletic career. In college at Winona State University, she earned All-American honors in track and field as a shot put thrower. Once it became clear to her that there wouldn't be a path to the Olympics in that discipline, she gave weightlifting a try at the relatively late age of 27. Now 33, Theisen-Lappen heads to Paris as the fifth-ranked athlete in the women's superheavyweight division and a dark horse medal contender. She's also on a mission to use her Olympic platform to promote body positivity this summer.