Morris Sets New World Record Day 1 of World Cup

PHUKET,  Thailand - Team USA came out swinging Tuesday in the final Paris Olympic Qualifier - the IWF World Cup. The day was highlighted by 20 year old Hampton Morris (Marietta, Georgia) setting a new senior clean & jerk world record during the men’s 61 kg A session. Morris’ record marks Team USA’s first men’s senior world record since 1969 when Bob Bednarski set the snatch and total world records at 110 kg. Morris lifted 127/176/303 on the day, setting new American records in the snatch, C&J, and total en route to claiming gold in the clean & jerk and silver in the total. He’s now the world No. 2 at 61 kg. Fellow 20 year old Bella Rodriguez (Atlant, Georgia) also competed, lifting in the women's 55A session. The meet was her senior international debut and marked just her second international meet of her young career. Rodriguez set a trio of personal records after lifting 78 kg in the snatch and 102 kg in the C&J for a 180 kg total (6 kg PR). She went 5-for-6 on the day, including a perfect 3-for-3 in her snatches.

IWF: Hampton Morris ends USA’s 55-year wait on day of four world records

Watch: Hampton Morris Sets World Record at 61 kg

Watch: Bella Rodriguez goes 5-for-6, sets trio of personal records

It seems like every time Hampton Morris touches a platform, magic happens. At Team USA’s last meet, the European Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, Morris shattered eight American records and moved up three places in the Olympic Qualifying rankings when he lifted 126 kg in the snatch and 171 kg in the clean and jerk for a 297 kg total at 61 kg. His top lifts were both new American junior and senior records, as were his two totals. In total, Morris set eight new American records through the competition, and his 171 C&J tied the junior world record (Myong Jin Pak, People’s Republic of Korea). Prior to Bulgaria, Morris snatched 122 kg and clean & jerked 170 kg for a 292 kg total at the IWF Grand Prix II in Doha, Qatar, in mid-December. Both his clean & jerk and total marks were American records at both the junior and senior level that helped initially move him into 10th in the rankings.

After watching how the other 61 kg lifters did in their prior sessions this week, Morris came into his session with the idea in mind to “go for something big and just have fun” with his spot at the Paris Olympic Games all but secured. His training leading into this meet set him up for the possibility of being in position to set the world record, and the coaching staff decided to chase it. When asked how he felt overall about his performance, he said “I’m just excited.”

“It’s just amazing. I don’t even know what to say,” said Tripp Morris, Hampton’s father and coach. “It’s super exciting and I don’t think he’s done. He’s good for more in the snatch for sure and I think he could do more in the clean and jerk for sure too.”

"It was pretty surreal watching Hampton today,” said Mike Gattone, head coach for Team USA. “I’m 60 years old and I’ve been in this sport for 40 years. When I was five years old the last American man set a senior world record so it’s just surreal. I was with Hampton at his first Team USA international competition back in 2017 and now he’s setting world records so its a really amazing and fun feeling all the way around.”

Bella Rodriguez finished eighth overall but the young lifter is only two international meets into her career and has a bright future. She previously lifted 72/99/171 at the 2023 IWF World Junior Championships to earn silver and came out today looking sharp.

“Bella was very steady and I told her that all of her lifts looked exactly the same,” Gattone said. “She was cool as a cucumber in the back room and had no visible nerves or strange erratic movements. She was just very precise and she did a great job and should be very proud of herself for how she performed on a big stage like this with all the pressure and the overall atmosphere.”

“I’m extremely happy for Bella,” said Spencer Arnold, Rodriguez’ coach. “We knew this would be a great practice meet. She gets to be on an international stage and she’s not cutting weight so that gave us an opportunity to do some things that we probably wouldn’t have done otherwise at a typical meet. We did some things in the preparation for this meet that aren’t typical so that I could prepare her for future competitions, because its my job to see her for what she can be and prepare her for what she’s going to need later, and this meet was one of those opportunities. Regardless of how we feel about the last lift, we’re still looking at a 5-for-6 day, a snatch PR, a clean & jerk PR, and total PR. When you say those words out loud and when you’re able to do all that, then the confidence should be very high. So I’m happy for her, and it was also very good for her to stand around some really big time lifters on that stage.”

“I did what I knew I could do today. It sucked that I didn’t hit my last clean & jerk but you can’t win them all so we’re ok,” said Rodriguez. “We tried to replicate what we were working on in training. I had a pretty good training cycle and we hit numbers today that I’ve done in training so it’s only up from here. Today was definitely a different world of emotions. I was very excited, nervous, and honored to be around the athletes I was today and I’m happy and grateful for this opportunity. The next step for me is the junior Pan American Championships in June and the goal is to hit these numbers as a 49 kg lifter.”

Up Next

The World Cup continues Wednesday with Shayla Moore (59C) and Taylor Wilkins (59A) competing in Phuket. Moore lifts at 2:30 a.m. ET, and Wilkins goes at 8:00 a.m. ET. Fans can follow the action with the links here.