Kate Nye, a 20-year-old who spent more than half her life doing gymnastics, is now a world champion in weightlifting, three years after dropping CrossFit to focus on the sport.
Nye won the 71kg division at the world championships in Thailand on Monday, becoming the second American to win a world title since 1994 (Sarah Robles, 2017).
She broke the junior world record with a 112kg (246-pound) snatch and clean-and-jerked 136kg (299 pounds) en route to becoming the youngest U.S. woman to earn an Olympic or world title. Nye did so three months after winning a world junior title.
“I’m happy that I did what I had to for the win, but, as an athlete, you’re trained to not be satisfied with what you do because then you’re not going to make any progress,” she told media in Thailand, noting failing her last clean and jerk at 141kg for what would have been a junior world record total. “We went into this year knowing that we had to kill it. … If we want to make the Olympics, we’ve got to do some big things.”
She was joined on the podium by Mattie Rogers, giving the U.S. its first one-two women’s finish at an Olympics or worlds. The last men’s one-two was in 1955, back when the U.S. was a world lifting power.
Rogers, who just missed the Rio Olympic team, earned her second world silver medal in three years.
The Olympics do not have a 71kg division. Nye came to worlds in 10th place in the Olympic qualification rankings at 76kg, where she earned bronze at the Pan American Games on July 29.
Robles, who competes Friday, is the lone U.S. lifter to earn an Olympic medal since 2000. She took super heavyweight bronze in Rio.
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