Team USA’s Mary Theisen-Lappen Wins Gold in the Final Lift of the 2023 Pan American Games Weightlifting Competition as Keiser Witte Snags Silver

SANTIAGO, Chile – The United States’ Mary Theisen-Lappen (+87 kg/Eau Claire, Wis.) closed out the weightlifting competition at the 2023 Pan American Games in gold medal fashion while her teammate Keiser Witte (+109 kg/Phoenix, Ariz.) grabbed silver. The duo capped the event in impressive fashion, doubling Team USA’s medal count on the final day of the event.

Theisen-Lappen was money from the start of the competition, landing all three snatch attempts with totals of 112 kg, 116 kg and 120 kg. Her work earned Theisen-Lappen the top spot at the end of the snatch competition. She continued her successful streak in the clean and jerk competition, which went down to the wire with the top spot on the medal stand up for grabs. Theisen-Lappen opened the clean and jerk with successful lifts of 150 kg and 155 kg as she and silver medalist Lisseth Ayovi of Ecuador kept increasing their lift totals. Ultimately, Theisen-Lappen was the final lifter to step on the platform at the 2023 Pan American Games with the gold medal on the line.

Despite the pressure of the moment, she lifted the winning total of 157 kg, but it was initially ruled no lift by the judges. Seconds later, the jury stepped in and overturned the judges’ decision, ruling that it was a good lift and Theisen-Lappen was the 2023 Pan American Games champion.

She was relieved that the jury ruled it a good lift, saying that the lift felt good, but she has experienced red lights on the screen in the past and the jury’s rulings haven’t always gone her way. “I felt like the judging was a little bit strict so I was surprised that I got it. I was happy but I was surprised,” she said.

In addition to her gold medal finish, Theisen-Lappen hit a new personal record in the snatch, something she wasn’t expecting to do coming in.  

Earlier in the day, Witte won the U.S. team’s lone silver medal of the event.

He shook off a miss in his opening snatch attempt in the men’s +102 kg category and successfully landed lifts of 180 kg and 187 kg to grab the number one spot at the end of snatch competition.

“The first one, I just overpulled it a little and then they all kind of felt the same, they felt pretty easy,” he said.

Witte started the clean and jerk strong, landing a 215 kg lift in his opening attempt. After failing to land his first try at 222 kg, he successfully lifted the weight in his final attempt, setting a new personal best and winning a Pan American Games silver medal.  

“I wanted to win, but it was a seven-kilo competition PR so I’m just going to keep chipping away. Overall, I was happy with it. Anytime you get to get a medal, you’ve got to be grateful for it, so I am,” Kitte said.

Team USA won four medals at the 2023 Pan American Games – two gold (Olivia Reeves) (Mary Theisen-Lappen), one silver (Keiser Witte), and one bronze (Meredith Alwine).

The 2023 Pan American Games were not an Olympic qualifying event.

Keiser Witte’s Results

Snatch: 187 kg

Clean and Jerk: 222 kg

Total: 409 kg

Finish: Silver Medal

Mary Theisen-Lappen’s Results

Snatch: 120 kg

Clean and Jerk: 157 kg

Total: 277 kg
Finish: Gold Medal