Pan Ams and the Road to the 2020 Olympic Games

April 22, 2019 by
Caine Wilkes (USA) giving praise to the heavens after his 217kg (477#) clean and jerk.
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On the road to the 2020 Olympic Games, athletes in the sport of weightlifting must compete in at least one Gold qualifying event within an 18 month qualifying period. The 2019 Pan American Championships, which begin today, will be the first Gold qualifying event of 2019 for Team USA.

On the team: Team USA will be sending ten men and ten women to compete based on their Robi score, a calculation that tops at 1,000 based on the athlete’s body weight category, total, and the World Record in the athlete’s body weight category.

  • Men: CJ Cummings (907.6866), Wes Kitts (757.5475), Jordan Cantrell (716.1786), Christian Ocasio (703.2754), D’Angelo Osorio (699.6502), Jordan Wissinger (666.9134), Caine Wilkes (661.4377), Jason Bonnick (660.9137), Alex Lee (659.3821), John Downey (656.8076) and Keiser Witte (602.9192).
  • Women: Jourdan Delacruz (754.1077), Mattie Rogers (736.0575), Alyssa Ritchey (734.5909), Mattie Sasser (731.5802), Kate Nye (725.8339), Sarah Robles (721.0759), Jenny Arthur (706.6024), Jessica Lucero (673. 7822), Morghan King (658.3849, and Caitlin Hogan (648.6498).

Not their first rodeo: Sarah Robles, Morghan King, and Jenny Arthur competed in the 2016 Olympics.

How to watch: Competition begins Tuesday, April 23 and runs to Saturday, April 27 with a livestream from USAW. The lifting schedule is posted here and will also be posted on the USAW page throughout the week.

  • Lifting today: Alyssa Ritchey in the 49kg A session at 2:00 PM PT/5:00 PM ET.

Keep an eye on these lifters.

  • CJ Cummings (73kg). Coming into the competition with an entry total of 338kg (28kg more than the next ranked lifter, Junior Sanchez (VEN)), he’s going to be a dominant force if he can perform. CJ is notoriously strong and has experienced competing in weightlifting since the age of 11.
  • D’Angelo Osorio (102kg). D’Angleo comes in with a staggering 370kg entry total, which is 80kg (that’s 176 pounds) more than the next lifter in the 102 category, David Valdez (ECU). D’Angelo should be able to stomp out the competition.
  • Wes Kitts (109kg). You may know Wes Kitts from his YouTube channel, where he chronicles his life as an athlete. He will be competing with an entry total 20kg more than that of his peers and it’s almost certain that his camera will follow wherever he goes.
  • Caine Wilkes (109+). Caine enters this competition with a 400kg (880 pounds, for those who lift in freedom units) entry total, 11kg higher than his nearest competitor. Caine has earned a gold at Pan Ams in 2014 and 2017 and earned silver in 2016 and 2018.
  • Alyssa Ritchey (49kg). Alyssa started her career after finding weightlifting through CrossFit. Known for her strength and size (or as she calls it, being “bittystrong”), she will be fun to watch, as she is fighting some tough competition. Ritchey is ranked first, with the second ranked lifter being Beatriz Candelario, who enters the competition with the same entry total of 185kg.
  • Jessica Lucero (59kg). Lucero enters the competition with a 206kg entry total, ranked 4th in her session, only 4kg away from the two Colombian lifters who enter the competition with ranked first and second with a total of 210kg. Jessica was just outside of qualifying for the 2016 Olympics and has a history of international competition including appearances at IWF Worlds. Watching her fight for the top position will be exciting.
  • Mattie Rogers and Kate Nye (71kg). Ranked first and second respectively, these two enter the competition with a kilo difference between them; Mattie with a 238kg total and Kate with a 237kg total. The third ranked lifter is behind Kate with a 7kg deficit in her entry total, so if both athletes lift well, it will almost certainly be a guaranteed gold and silver for USA.
  • Jenny Arthur (76kg). Jenny competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics and earned a sixth place finish. She has previously been a Pan Am champ as a junior (2013) and has earned silver twice for senior Pan Ams (2013 and 2014). Jenny enters this Pan Am champs ranked first in the 76’s and will be battling it out with second ranked lifter Aremi Zavala (MEX), who comes into the competition with the same 245kg entry total.
  • Sarah Robles (87+kg). Sarah Robles will be entering the competition ranking first among her peers. She comes in with a 290kg total, dwarfing the next highest entry total by 30kg held by Tania Osuna (MEX). Sarah has a history of being a fantastic competitor and earned a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics. In 2018, she was the Pan American champion and it seems almost certain that she will claim that tile again this year.

NOTE: Harrison Maurus and Alex Lee have withdrawn from competition. They are being replaced by John Downey and Keiser Witte. This story has been updated to reflect this change.

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