Weightlifting has never been a strong point for Team USA, but they have some legitimate medal chances at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Competition starts on Friday as the likes of Jourdan Delacruz, Katherine Nye, Sarah Robles and Clarence Cummings aim to lift the USA’s medal count.
Online betting markets are available for every weightlifting category, which is headlined by Delacruz, who has a chance of scoring an upset in the women’s 49 kg division.
We look at the best American chances to snatch a medal at Tokyo.
The 23-year-old is a two-time gold medalist at the Pan American Weightlifting Championships and she could bring that form to the Olympics.
It will be her first Olympic Games and although she doesn’t have the credentials of the Chinese and Indiana lifters, Delacruz could score an upset.
She lifted 200 kg combined in the snatch and clean and jerk to win gold at the Pan American Games in 2020. It was 7 kg less than what she lifted to win gold in 2019, but she only needed to hoist enough to secure the gold.
Pumped to watch Jourdan Delacruz at the #TokyoOlympics. 💪
— Team USA (@TeamUSA) July 20, 2021
Olympic Games odds have Delacruz at +900 to win it all. She will need to improve to beat Hou Zhihui, but a medal is in the cards.
She is happy the games are going ahead, but would have loved crowds to be in attendance.
“I didn’t know what the protocols were going to be going forward, but I’m just super thankful that it is happening,” Delacruz told Fox Atlanta. “I know it’s going to be a little different. The Olympic experience is not going to be as spectacular as I had dreamed, but I’m just really glad that it’s happening.”
Katherine Nye is in a similar situation to Delacruz. The 22-year-old is on the third line of betting which puts her in line to win bronze. That said, she’s soared up the odds board from an opening line of +700.
The Michigan native won gold at the 2019 World Championships in the 71 kg division, but she goes up to 76 kg for the Olympics.
Nye won the 2019 IWF Lifter-of-the-Year honor, so she is highly regarded and her previous attempt at 76 kg returned a bronze medal at the Pan American Games.
Beating the Ukraine and Ecuadorian lifters won’t be easy, but the value had by bettors in weightlifting betting odds could well be gone now that the line has moved.
Bronze could be the best chance Sarah Robles has to medal. She competes in the 87+ kg division, which is dominated by Li Wenwen and the controversial Kiwi athlete Laurel Hubbard.
The transgender athlete has caused controversy around the world and it’s going to be tough for the likes of Sarah Robles to overcome the hurdle.
There are five lifters paying +1000 or more, so the bronze medal is up for grabs. If Robles can lift anywhere near her 2017 World Championships mark, she will be competitive.
Robles has tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in the past, so she gets a chance to redeem herself at Tokyo.
Clarence Cummings is the leading male American lifter at the Tokyo Olympics. He has a good chance of coming home with a medal.
He is on the third line of betting at +1000, a bit of a drop from earlier in the week when he posted +800 odds. The gold, though, appears to already be in the hands of -1000 favorite Shi Zhiyong, Cummings could go for silver or bronze.
Clarence Cummings Jr won four consecutive gold medals at the 2016-2019 IWF Junior World Championships!
The American lifter shows us strength, perseverance and consistently stunning performances!
— IWF (@iwfnet) December 14, 2020
The 21-year-old is a four-time World Junior Championships gold medal winner. He stepped up to 73 kg in 2019 where he lifted 337 kg, which was easily enough to give him the gold medal.
However, Zhiyong’s career best is 363 kg, so there is significant separation between the lifters.
Cummings might not be a winning hope, but he only needs to match his personal best to win a medal, which should be seen as a victory.
[Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the number of American lifters represented at the games and also cited Michigan’s Katherine Nye as an Oklahoman.]