Roach, Gump, Woolfolk, Haworth, Farris, Vaughn and Burgner Make the Olympic Team

Melanie Roach, Carissa Gump, Natalie Woolfolk, and Cheryl Haworth made the U.S. women's weightlifting team for the 2008 Olympics, and the U.S. men's weightlifting team for the 2008 Olympics comprises Kendrick Farris, Chad Vaughn and Casey Burgener. Ace MILO® weightlifting reporter Jim Schmitz filed this report for IronMind®:

They Are Olympians! - by Jim Schmitz

The men's final session was as action-packed and as exciting as any weightlifting fan could ask for. Kendrick Farris (85-kg class) maintained his number-one status by setting an American record in the clean and jerk with a very strong and solid 201, after successfully doing 195 and 199, along with his 154 snatch, for a 355 total.  Chad Vaughn (77-kg class) had one his best, if not a lifetime best, days, doing solid snatches with 143 and 146, along with very good cleans and jerks of 183 and 187, for a 333 kg total for the number-two slot.

Then the excitement was raised to another level: Jeff Wittmer and Norik Vardanian were fighting for the third spot on the U.S. team. Norik bombed with two misses at 153 and then missed 157 in the snatch. Wittmer only made one snatch, 154, so he needed a 204 clean and jerk to move into the third team slot. He cleaned the personal record 204 twice, but couldn't hold the jerk overhead and was out of the ranking. Now there was one lifter left who had a chance at the number-three slot being occupied by 77-kg Lance Frye with a 325 total: super heavyweight Casey Burgener.

Casey snatched 174 and 180 before missing 183. After all the other lifters had finished, Casey knew what he had to do to make the 2008 United States Olympic Team. He needed a 224 clean and jerk to achieve his goal, a weight he had never lifted before. He decided there was no reason to lift anything less and opened up with a weight he had never touched before, 224! On his first attempt he just missed racking it, but on his second attempt, he racked it, struggled to stand, then did a no-doubt-about-it jerk—and he is on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team! It was an absolutely fantastic finish to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Not to slight the women, who had lifted earlier in the day, Melanie Roach in the 53-kg class had a great day, making 5 attempts, 77, 79, 81, 104, and 109 for 190 and the number-one spot on the team. Natalie Wolfolk and Carria Gordan maintained their second and third rankings to make the team. Cheryl Haworth, who is battling injuries, did 114 and 139 for 253 to qualify for her third Olympic Team, which is quite an accomplishment.

So, now it's on to Beijing!

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