Horst, Cooper Start Team USA With Record Lifts At World Championships

by USA Weightlifting

Jake Horst looks on during training at World Championships (Photo by USA Weightlifting)
Jake Horst looks on during training at the 2021 IWF World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.


TASHKENT, Uzbekistan – Jacob Horst (73kg; Leesport, Pa.) and Travis Cooper (89kg; Saunderstown, R.I.) were the first U.S. weightlifters to compete at the IWF World Championships, where both men put up some of the best numbers of their careers.

Horst kicked off the 10-athlete U.S. team on Friday, competing in the 73kg B session.

The 24-year-old impressed in his senior world championships debut, finishing third in the session and 11th overall at 73kg. He had previously competed at the 2017 IWF Junior World Championships, where he placed 14th.

Horst made his first two snatch attempts (132, 136), missing the third of 139kg, which would have marked a personal record, and first two clean and jerks (161, 165), missing the final one of 168kg. Still, both his 165kg clean and jerk and his 301kg total were personal records.

“My time at the World Championships was great,” Horst said. “I appreciate everybody for the support. I’m going to keep growing, lifting better every day. Hopefully I’ll see you next year at the World Championships.”

At the Pan American Championship last month in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Horst set competition PRs across the board when he earned snatch silver and bronze in both the clean and jerk and total. In a period of about 36 days, the Leesport, Pennsylvania, native went from a clean and jerk PR of 162kg from June 2019 to now 165kg, and a total PR of 293kg from June 2019 to now 301kg.

“Competing twice on a big stage like this – back to back – has been a hard experience, but also a very good one that I think a lot of weightlifters need to experience,” Horst shared. “Training’s not always going to be 100 percent because you’re going to be sore and tired and run-down because you just peaked for Pan Ams and now you have to peak for worlds. It's always a good mental battle when you do something like that.”

On Sunday, Cooper, who is nearly 10 years Horst’s senior, lifted in the 89kg C session.

The oldest member of Team USA in Tashkent, turning 34 next month, Cooper went five for six in his attempts and showed off the form that made him a mainstay on the international stage in the early/mid 2010s.

Cooper made his first two snatch attempts of 140 and 145, then missed at 148kg. All three of his clean and jerk attempts – 175, 181, 185kg – were good lifts. The 185kg clean and jerk and 330kg total are his best competition results in over eight years, since an Olympic Training Center Qualifier in October 2013.

This is Cooper’s first world championships in six years. He competed at junior worlds in 2008, then at the senior level in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

“What made this experience different?” Cooper posted on his Instagram. “I soaked in every moment. I appreciated every lift and took time to look at the venue and mold it into my brain. I want to have these memories forever. Never has any weightlifting experience meant more to me than being able to represent Team USA once again.”

“I am hoping I continued to build on the momentum that Jake Horst started so that when we have some medal contenders they go in with confidence to perform,” the post also stated.

The next Team USA athletes to compete are Meredith Alwine (71kg; Virginia Beach, Va.) and Olivia Reeves (71kg; Chattanooga, Tenn.) in their body-weight category’s A session at 9 a.m. ET on Monday, Dec. 13. Alwine, the 2021 Pan American champion, and Reeves, the 2021 junior world champion, both have entry totals that could contend for the podium.

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