American weightlifter Caine Wilkes has a lengthy resume that includes multiple National Championships and even a few of the heaviest clean & jerks in American history. But until yesterday, one title he’s had his sights set on still eluded him: Pan American Champion.
But after Thursday’s 5-for-6 performance that ended with a 175kg snatch — good for bronze — and a 219kg clean & jerk — good for gold — Wilkes walked away in Miami with overall gold for Team USA.
Watch all his competition lifts below:
Wilkes had a hard-fought battle with defending Pan American Champion Fernando Salas of Ecuador. Salas took gold in the snatch and headed into the clean & jerks with a three kilo lead over Wilkes. But after Salas missed his final clean & jerk attempt, Wilkes nailed the clutch 219kg clean & jerk to guarantee himself the gold in the total.
Wilkes’ three medals and overall win were crucial in helping Team USA’s men lock up the second place team spot behind Colombia. Team USA’s women finished in 4th overall.
The men’s superheavyweight session was particularly interesting in that the athlete with the highest lifts and total — Brazilian Fernando Reis — was not eligible to compete for medals or points, though his total could be used toward international qualification for future meets (like the upcoming 2017 World Weightlifting Championships). Reis was entered as an “extra” lifter for Team Brazil after initially being left off the squad and then successfully petitioning the Pan American Federation for inclusion in the competition.
Reis finished the competition with a 198kg snatch — good for a new Pan American record — and a 235kg clean & jerk.
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