Roy Gilbert

What I Learned About Weightlifting From Two Olympic Competitors

Jourdan Delacruz and CJ Cummings, both on the US Olympic weightlifting team, tell us how they train and how they manage meet day nerves.

Explosively lifting a giant barbell over your head takes strength, technique, and a certain fearlessness. I’ve been training this sport—Olympic style weightlifting —for about two years now, and it seems like I find something new to learn about it every day. Recently, I had a chance to ask two members of the US Olympic weightlifting team, Jourdan Delacruz and CJ Cummings, about how they train, how they stay motivated, and what it’s like to step on the platform while under so much pressure.

Their answers were illuminating to me, partly for what they do differently than me and from each other, but also for what is the same. For example, both of them told me beginners need to be patient and remember they’re in this for the long haul—something my coach has told me a million times.

This is a sport where you do just two lifts: the snatch, which takes a barbell from the ground to overhead in one swift movement, and the clean and jerk, which does it in two. The moves are tricky, and you have to do them so consistently that they become second nature. Pulling slightly too hard, or keeping your balance slightly too far toward the front or back of your foot, could mean the difference between a miss and a make, a win and a loss.

So you spend hours in […]

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