Team USA to Open Pan American Games Competition on Saturday in Santo Domingo

SANTIAGO, Chile - 2023 Pan American Games weightlifting competition will kick off in three bodyweight categories on Saturday, October 21 in Santiago, Chile. The United States’ only returning Pan American Games participant Travis Cooper (73 kg/Saunderstown, R.I) will open the event for his U.S. squad in the men’s 73 kg division at 5:50 p.m. local time/4:50 p.m. ET at the at Gimnasio Chimkowe in Santiago.

Cooper is one of nine American weightlifters at the Pan American Games and the sole U.S. athlete to compete on the opening day of weightlifting action. While being the team opener is unprecedented for Cooper, he hopes to set the tone for his teammates.

“This is the first time that I will be opening the competition for USA Weightlifting,” Cooper said. “Hopefully I can get everything off to a good start with a good performance and motivate everyone to do even better.”

Three American lifters will compete in Sunday and Monday’s weightlifting competition with Taylor Wilkins (59 kg/Sebastian, Fla.), Brandon Victorian (89 kg/Monroe, La.) and Meredith Alwine (71 kg/Altamonte Springs, Fla.) stepping on to the platform on October 22 and Morgan McCullough (102 kg/Knoxville, Tenn.) and women’s 81 kg athletes Olivia Reeves (81 kg/Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Shacasia Johnson (81 kg/Blue Springs, Mo.) lifting on October 23.

Keiser Witte (+109 kg/Phoenix, Ariz.) and Mary Theisen-Lappen (+87 kg/Eau Claire, Wis.) will close out the competition for the United States on Tuesday, taking part in the afternoon and evening sessions respectively.

There are 135 weightlifters scheduled to compete across the four days of competition at the Pan American Games, which is celebrating the 19th edition of the multi-sport, international event.

Weightlifting was one of the 18 original sports contested in the first Pan Am Games held in 1951 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Pan American Games are held every four years, taking place one year before the summer Olympic Games.

Team USA has won a total of 103 medals in Pan American Games weightlifting competition, 49 of them gold. Women’s weightlifting was added to the Pan American Games docket in 1999 and Team USA has earned 13 medals since that time.

In the last Pan American Games in 2019, USA Weightlifting put on a strong performance, winning five medals (two gold, one silver, and two bronze).

The USA Weightlifting team will join their United States’ teammates and fellow Pan American Games participants in the parade of athletes at tonight’s Opening Ceremony in the Coliseo Estadio Nacional at 8:30 p.m. local time.

All of the 2023 Pan American Games competition can be watched live on the Pan Am Sports Channel.

Stay tuned to USA Weightlifting’s website and social media channels for all of the latest news from Santiago.  

For more on the 2023 Pan American Games team, click here.

USA Weightlifting’s Pan American Games Schedule

Saturday, October 21

5:50 p.m. Chile time/4:50 p.m. ET: Travis Cooper/M 73 kg

Sunday, October 22

12 p.m. Chile time/11 a.m. ET: Taylor Wilkins/F 59 kg

3:45 p.m. Chile time/2:45 p.m. ET: Brandon Victorian/M 89 kg

7 p.m. Chile time/6 p.m. ET: Meredith Alwine/F 71 kg

Monday, October 23

4 p.m. Chile time/3 p.m. ET: Morgan McCullough/M 102 kg

7:30 p.m. Chile time/6:30 p.m. ET: Olivia Reeves and Shacasia Johnson/W 81 kg

Tuesday, October 24

4 p.m. Chile time/3 p.m. ET: Keiser Witte/M +102 kg

7 p.m. Chile time/6 p.m. ET: Mary Theisen-Lappen/W +81 kg