Decades of training prepare Caine Wilkes for his Olympic moment

by USA Weightlifting

TOKYO (Aug. 4) -- Caine Wilkes was the last athlete to represent Team USA on the weightlifting platform at the Tokyo International Forum on Wednesday. After decades of training in the sport, Wilkes finally had his moment on the Olympic stage.

“I’m feeling a lot of emotions right now. It means a lot to be here. It wasn’t quite the day I wanted but it’s a day I won’t forget.”

Wilkes has been training and competing at an elite level for many years with his father, Chris as his coach. The duo had a memorable day on the Tokyo 2020 platform. Caine made his opening Snatch attempt of 173kg, prior to missing his second and third attempts.

“To be without him this entire journey is completely unmatched. He’s always been there as a role model. Before I got into weightlifting, he was my football coach and strength and conditioning coach. To have that support in one of the biggest facets of my life for the last decades, and to hit the pinnacle by making the Olympic team and having him here to coach me just means a whole lot.”

In the Clean and Jerk portion of the competition, Caine made his first attempt at 213kg and moved up to 217kg, a weight he missed on his 2nd attempt, but made on his third. Reflecting on his career, Wilkes told USA Weightlifting why he’s persevered through decades of work. 

“At the beginning it was just for the fun of it. When you realize you’re close, you want to push harder.”

When it comes to future competitions, Caine is less decisive. 

“I’m going to take a little bit of time off. I’ve been joking around with friends, talking about debating between a hard retirement and a soft retirement. I’ll probably take some time to figure out what exactly I want to do.”

His 390kg total earned him 9th overall in the +109kg competition. He shared this advice for lifters aiming for the Olympic platform.

“There’s going to be setbacks and hard times. If you just stick with something long enough, you never know where it will take you. Keep pushing. Keep moving. Learn to enjoy the peaks and the valleys. Enjoy the process.”

Caine will return to Hawaii where his wife and mother await him and his dad. He’s looking forward to settling into married life and continuing to enjoy our sport.

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