USA Weightlifting Announces Paris Olympic Team

COLORADO SPRINGS - USA Weightlifting today announced the five athletes who have earned the honor of representing the United States at the Olympic Games Paris 2024. Jourdan Delacruz (49 kg), Wes Kitts (102 kg), Hampton Morris (61 kg), Olivia Reeves (71 kg), and Mary Theisen-Lappen (+81 kg) are slated to compete in Paris this summer. Weightlifting in Paris runs Aug. 7-11, 2024 at the South Paris Arena. 

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“This is an extremely talented and well-placed team and I’m excited to bring each of them to Paris,” said Mike Gattone, USA Weightlifting Senior Director of Sport Performance. “We have five team members, and four of them are ranked top-5 in their weight category. It’s historic for USA Weightlifting to bring that much depth into the Olympics. The outlook and health of our team is exceptional.”

Gattone emphasized that the experience and talent level of this team signals a paradigm shift within USAW. 

“The talent and success of these athletes shows the mindset of our elite lifters, from the juniors to the seniors. The numbers being put up across all levels and age groups demonstrates how much the mindset of United States weightlifting athletes is changing,” Gattone said. “They are aiming for, and hitting, the numbers that they need to be internationally relevant and to compete with the best in the world for podium positions. That shift in focus reflects the progress we have made developing elite athletes, and is exemplified by this team.”

The U.S. has collected 47 medals in its Olympic history. Kate Nye (76 kg) and Sarah Robles (+87) mostly recently earned silver and bronze at Tokyo 2020. A U.S. man hasn’t earned an Olympic medal since Guy Carlton (110 kg, bronze) and Mario Martinez (+110 kg, silver) at Los Angeles 1984.

“I couldn’t be more excited for these five athletes and what they represent about the development of elite weightlifting in the U.S.,” said USA Weightlifting CEO and president Matt Sicchio. “These five have fought tooth and nail through a grueling qualification process to make this team and they’ve been fantastic representatives of themselves, their families, and our country throughout the process. I can’t wait to cheer them on in Paris.” 

The U.S. team features two of the best young weightlifters on the planet in Hampton Morris (Marietta, Georgia) and Olivia Reeves (Chattanooga, Tenn.). Despite being just 20 and 21 years old, respectively, both are ranked No. 2 in their respective weight classes and are expected to challenge for the podium this summer. At the final Olympic qualifier in April, the IWF World Cup in Phuket, Thailand, Morris shocked the world when he lifted 176 kg in the clean & jerk, setting a new world record for the 61 kg weight class. Reeves followed by sweeping the 71 kg podium in a performance that set a trio of American records (118 kg snatch, 150 kg clean & jerk, 268 kg total) and put her ahead of competitors from historic powerhouses China and North Korea. Morris has 20 American records to his name and has set 10 world records in his career, while Reeves holds 15 American records, currently holds a trio of junior world records, and has set nine total world records in her career.

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The Red, White, and Blue’s squad also features Tokyo 2020 Olympians Jourdan Delacruz (26 years old) and Wes Kitts (34 years old), alongside first-time Olympian Mary Theisen-Lappen (33 years old). Delacruz, a two-time world medalist and three-time Pan-American Championships medalist, ranks fourth in the world at 49 kg and holds eight American records across three weight classes. The Wylie, Texas, native turned Atlanta, Georgia, resident, lept into qualifying position after putting up a 200 kg total at the 2023 IWF World Championships to earn a bronze medal and has been patiently waiting and preparing to compete on the Olympic stage again ever since, opting to continue to train through the final two Olympic qualifiers instead of competing. Delacruz was the United States’ top-ranked woman for most of the qualifying period until Reeves jumped to second at 71 kg in December 2023. Delacruz is looking to move past a Tokyo performance where she recorded the third-best lift in the snatch (86 kg) but did not register a lift in the clean and jerk. 

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Theisen-Lappen is a relative newcomer to the sport who has blazed a trail over the past year. The Eau Claire, Wisconsin, native started competing in weightlifting in 2018 but ranks fifth in the +81 kg weight class. A five-time NCAA Division II All-American in track & field between Winona State and Indiana State, Theisen-Lappen has collected five gold medals while representing the U.S. in eight international competitions and earned the top super-heavy U.S. spot in December after a powerhouse performance at the IWF Doha Grand Prix where she jumped three-time Olympain Sarah Robles. MTL snatched 120 kg and lifted 163 kg in the clean and jerk for a 283 kg which resulted in a bronze and two gold medals at the meet. She earned silver in the 2023 IWF World Championships and has a pair of gold medals from the Pan American Championships (2021, 2023). 


Rounding out the team is Wes Kitts, a Knoxville, Tenn., native and former running back at Austin Peay. Kitts qualified for the team by earning a continental spot. Kitts ranks 14th at 102 kg with a 388 kg total from the June 2023 IWF Grand Prix I in Cuba where he finished second overall. That result makes him the top-ranked lifter in his weight class from the Pan-American region and thus earned him a quota spot to represent the region. Kitts has been nursing a lower body injury since the 2023 IWF World Championships, and that injury forced him to skip competition at the 2024 European Championships and 2024 IWF World Cup. He finished eighth at 109 kg at the Tokyo Games, lifting 177 kg in the snatch and 213 kg in the C&J. His 177 kg snatch set the 109 kg American record, a mark he still holds today. In total he holds five American records and has finished on the podium in four of five Pan American Championships, earning gold three times and silver once. 

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“We have to approach the Olympics as a continuation of what they’re already doing and have done,” said Gattone. “We won’t let the stage change how we perform or how we prepare. This whole team has gone through a crucible to get to this level with how often they had to compete and travel and they’ve shined the whole way through. We’re going to continue to do the exact same thing right through Paris.”