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The 411 on Weightlifting Competitions

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The 411 on Weightlifting Competitions
Written by Cody Burgener

I don’t know if many of you remembered or have heard about the results of our weightlifting competition that we had a few weeks ago.  Before I get into details, let me explain to you a little about the weightlifting meet we held.

The purpose of this weightlifting competition was to qualify Invictus athletes for the American Open.  The American Open is one of two national weightlifting competitions held in the United States.  Each weight class has a qualifying total that an athlete must reach at a USAW sanctioned meet to be eligible for the American Open.

The outcome of the competition at Invictus was better than ever expected.  We had 12 athletes qualify for the American Open.  Besides that major accomplishment, we had many of the athletes set personal bests in the snatch and clean and jerk.

A lot of you probably have never been to a weightlifting competition, so I wanted to give you guys the 4-1-1 on how one is run.  You are probably thinking to yourself – what can be so hard about it? The athletes either make or miss the weight.  Till this day, there are still do’s and dont’s that I learn from different coaches.

Lets start off with the basics.  Each lifter has a total of six attempts.  Three for the snatch and three for the clean and jerk.  The winner is decided by who has the highest total of their best lifts from the snatch and clean and jerk.  If there happens to be a tie, the athlete who weighs the least will be victorious.  In the rare case, if athletes happen to weight the same, then the athlete who performed the lifts first will be granted the winner.

There are a total of three judges: one directly in front and two on the sides.  The judge in front also gives the signal for the athlete to put down the bar after he or she has completed the lift.  Once the lift is completed, each judge gives their verdict of the lift (white=good lift or red=bad lift) and majority rules wins.

There are many different things that judges look for while an athlete is performing the snatch or clean and jerk.  One of the most obvious mistakes you will see an athlete make is pressing the bar out when the weight is over head.  Sometimes when athletes receive a jerk or snatch up overhead, they receive it with bent arms.  Then the pressing out comes from the athlete trying to straighten their arms when the weight is overhead.  In the weightlifting rule books, it states that where ever the weight is received overhead, the weight must not move once its overhead.  A couple of other miscues that you might see athletes make are dropping the bar before the down signal, feet not lined up once the lift is completed, elbows hitting the knees at the bottom of a clean, or not a long enough pause between the clean into the jerk.

Athletes must weigh-in two hours prior to their lifting start time.  If an athletes fails to meet the weight class requirements, they will have time to try and lose or gain the desired weight.  If they still don’t meet the requirements, then they will get booted to the weight class above/below or be disqualified from the competition.

I hope this gives you guys a better understanding on what you would see at weightlifting competitions.  Even better, hopefully it motivates some of you to actually try to compete in an olympic weightlifting competition.
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Good luck to the following Invictus athletes who will be competing this weekend at the American Open – which can be seen on live stream here.
* Jason Armendariz (Friday @ 6:00 a.m. PST)
* Josh Bridges (Friday @ 11:00 a.m. PST)
* Ryan Sunshine (Friday @ 11:00 a.m. PST)
* Melissa Hurley (Friday @ 4:00 p.m. PST)
* Meaghan Galindo (Friday @ 4:00 p.m. PST)
* Aja Barto (Friday @ 6:30 p.m. PST)
* Christian Harris (Friday @ 6:30 p.m. PST)
* Elyse Umeda (Saturday @ 5:30 p.m. PST)
* Lauren Fisher (Saturday @ 5:30 p.m. PST)

  • kent chau

    And don’t drop the weight behind you, even though it makes you look more badass.