2024 Paris Olympics

American weightlifter breaks world record at final Olympics qualifier, first to do so since 1969

This signifies Team USA's chance at an Olympic medal in a sport where Americans typically don't dominate


An American weightlifter lifted nearly three times his body weight, breaking a world record and making history on his way to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

At the IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) World Cup in Phuket, Thailand, on Tuesday, 20-year-old Hampton Morris smashed the clean and jerk world record, in both junior and senior-level, by lifting 388 lbs (176 kg) to his shoulders, then catching the weight over his head --- all while weighing at under 135 lbs (61 kg). He became the first American male athlete to break a weightlifting world record since Bob Bednarski in 1969, according to USA Weightlifting.

The history-making lift not only moved Morris to #2 in the IWF world ranking in his weight class, with a total of 668 lbs (303 kg,) but it also signified Team USA's chance at an Olympic medal in a sport where Americans typically don't dominate.

The last time a U.S. man medaled in weightlifting at the Olympics was in 1984. Harrison Maurus came close in Tokyo, finishing fourth.

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Morris also broke the American record in Phuket with his 280-lbs (127 kg) snatch, the first lift in Olympic Weightlifting where the athlete moves the barbell overhead in one fluid motion. He took home the silver in the snatch and the gold in clean and jerk, as well as a silver for the combined total. Tokyo Champion Li Fabin of China, who famously stood on one leg, took home the gold after breaking his own world record with a 322-lbs (146 kg) snatch.

While the U.S. isn't known for Olympic weightlifting, American female athletes have made history in recent years --- despite women being allowed to compete in the sport for the first time in 2000.

Sarah Robles brought home two bronze medals in Rio and Tokyo, becoming the first American weightlifter to medal at two consecutive games in 53 years. Kate Vibert also earned a silver in 2020. They marked the first time the U.S. earned a two weightlifting medals in a single Olympics in 21 years, Forbes reported.

Weightlifting fans won't be seeing Robles in Paris, and Vibert still has to secure her spot in Paris by performing well in Phuket to move her current ranking at 14th up to the top 10 of her class. The 2024 Paris qualification is extremely competitive with each country only allowed to send three women and three men, one per weight category.

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The number of categories has also been reduced from seven to five. That means USA Weightlifting is more likely to send athletes who will be medal contenders in their category. Notable female weightlifters who could make the team are Mary Theisen Lappen in +81kg, Olivia Reeves in the 71kg and Jourdan Delacruz in 49kg. They currently rank 6th, 2nd, and 6th in the world, respectively.

Vibert won her medal in the 76kg category in Tokyo but the new Olympic weight classes are 49kg, 59kg, 71kg, 81kg and +81kg. Even though she currently ranks 6th in the 71kg, she will compete in Thailand next Tuesday as a 81kg because she wouldn't qualify for Paris over Reeves.

So fans will still have to wait to find out which athletes will be chosen for Team USA.

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