Monday, May 19, 2008
A Great Day in Atlanta
What a day! The weather was beautiful and the facilities at Georgia Tech were outstanding. Thank you Dean Alford, Chandler Alford and CJ Stockel for doing it right. The athletes gave it their all. See the full results here. See AP images from Friday here and from Saturday (top 10 competitors) here.
Melanie went 5/6 and totaled 190 kg, to secure the #1 ranking. She hit a LIFETIME best in the snatch, going 77 kg, 79 kg and then 81 kg! She then nailed a 104 kg clean and jerk to move into first and then hit 109 kg to put herself 3% ahead of the rest. I am so proud of her. She did everything her coach asked of her and took care of the details--staying hydrated, keeping her weight up and keeping herself quiet and relaxed the two days before the competition. No one, not even her own family, knew what room she was in at the hotel. She did not allow any distractions. The result: a 7 kg improvement from March and a comeback PR total that solidified her dream of becoming an Olympian.
Then it was time for Casey to go to work. He snatched 174 kg and then 180 kg, missing a close 183 kg. He needed a 404 kg total to move into third place, and so he called for 224 kg (493 lbs) on his first attempt in the clean and jerk. Missing the first clean, he came back to make it on his second attempt. The crowd went wild. Natalie Woolfolk, Casey's fiancee', jumped out of her seat and ran up onto the platform! We were sitting with the Burgener clan, Mel and the Calpians, and behind Natalie and her mom--and it was just incredible to feel the excitement.
Casey's lift was surely the most emotional of the day. Kendrick Farris set a new American record with a 201 kg clean and jerk. His jerks looked very powerful all day. Cara Heads, at 69 kg, had the most gutsy lift, making a 122 kg clean and jerk AFTER almost passing out on her first attempt. Her 217 kg total (95/122) was an 11 kg improvement from March. But I will have to say my favorite lift was Mel's 81 kg snatch. 3 for 3. A lifetime PR in a lift that has been her greatest challenge the last several years. If you don't think video is a valuable tool for weightlifting, just ask Mel for her thoughts on the subject.
There will be a telecast of the event on May 25 on MSNBC or NBC. I am not sure of the time just yet, but will post it when it becomes available. This will be a rare opportunity to see the sport on US television. Congrats to Melanie Roach, Carissa Gump, Natalie Woolfolk, Cheryl Haworth, Kendrick Farris, Chad Vaughn and Casey Burgener. I know they will cherish the opportunity to represent the USA with dignity and pride.