Men’s Bid for Olympic Spot Slipping Away

The first three days at the Pan-American Championships have not gone well for the Team USA men. The men’s team must finish 7th or better in the team standings to earn a single spot to the Rio Olympics. With Colombia and Brazil already having secured their team in the Olympics, it looked promising entering this week.

However, on Wednesday, Alex Lee went 0-for-3 in the snatch as he missed 135kg each attempt. Lee was expected to fight for a medal in the 69kg weight class so getting zero points hurt the team significantly.

The same day, we learned that Norik Vardanian would not be competing due to a back injury. Due to the timing, it was not possible to replace Vardanian with an alternate lifter. With the top six lifters for a team counting towards the team score, there is little margin for error as the remaining lifters will all count towards the men’s team total.

Yesterday, Travis Cooper scored the first points for Team USA with 6th place finish. The 21 points earned by Cooper puts the men in 13th place. The men still have six athletes yet to compete with James Tatum (85kg) taking the platform today. Based on the entry provided on the start list, Tatum should be competing for a medal and some very important points.

The following table shows the scoring at the end of Thursday. The orange sections indicate the lifters still left to compete for each country.


Stay tuned over the weekend as the men’s bid for an Olympic spot will come down to the last weight classes.