Today's lifting was excellent by our boys who competed in the 82.5 and 90 kilo classes. Jesse Norris, Zach Garza and Ian Bell. And our last 3 girls, Alexis Contreras, Natalie Luna and Becky Cook.
The USA really needed wins in these 2 classes if we were going to have any chance at all at taking the Team Gold. The girls had lost the chance for Gold yesterday when we kept coming up just a deadlift short almost every time. The girls today performed very well with Alex finishing with an 8 for 9 day and a Silver Medal overall. The Russian girl who took the overall gold had a perfect day on the platform making all 9 of her attempts. This is a rare occassion at the World Championships where judging is so very strict and sometimes political.
In the 90+ class it was all the 2 American girls going at it. None of the other lifters in the class ever stood a chance against Natalie and Becky. All of the coaches agreed that the number 1 goal was to ensure the the US finished 1st and 2nd no matter which girl was first, as long a the two were at the top of the podium at the end of the session. Natalie and Becky fought each other all the way through the session with Natalie taking the squat portion and Becky taking the Bench Press portion, so it would come down to deadlifts and the two of them would end up pulling the exact same weight in the end, leaving Natalie on top by 12 kilos overall. This was a fun class to watch as both of them performed very well and Natalie finished with a new World Record in the Squat.
Our boys performed excellently as well....Zach Garza was a last minute move to this weight division from the 75 kilo class because a Ukraine lifter had moved down to his weight class trying to get away from Jesse Norris. We didn't know how great this would be for Zach until the very end of the session. Jesse would end up winning the class, but in the deadlift portion of the session the Russian, who was in 2nd place at the beginning of deadlifts pulled a hamstring during his last warmups and after the deadline for opening weight changes, which means he had to open with what he had originally planned. The hamstring pull would not allow the Russian to qualify in the deadlift which opened up 3rd place for Garza to slide right into. Zach had performed very well up to that point finishing 6 for 9 in lifts and posting a 642.5 kilo (1416lb) total. Who says things can't happen for the USA Team from time to time.... :)
Ian Bell would own the 90 kilo class from the start by posting a 300 kilo squat on his 2nd attempt and he would never look back. Ian would drop a few kilos in the bench press, but everyone knows he is a great puller. Ian would open his deadlifts at a number that would award this class to the Americans and in the end he would just miss a new World Record deadlift.
At this point the American Boys Team had done just enough to stay close to the Russian Team so that on the last day of competition we would have to go head to head with the Russian lifter whether or not he lifted in the 110 kilo class or the 125 kilo class. We knew that after today if we did our part we would have 2 wins and the Russian Team would have 1 in the 100 kilo class.
Does anyone really know where Estonia is? Well Estonia is a small country that was one of the break aways when the old Russia became the new Russia....and guess what? They do a little powerlifting down there. Actually they do quite a bit and usually when they show up in a weight class they tend to perform very well. The Russian Team was not ready for Raus Alex-Edvard, from Estonia. He would, without really trying put the US in the best position we could be in for tomorrow's finish, Team wise. He would win the 100 kilo class which would only allow the Russian Team to score 9 points instead of 12. With that, the last American to lift tomorrow,Preston Turner, will have to win his weight class for America to take the Team Gold!
Current Team Scores: Top 5 Teams Shown
Girls are Final...
Girls - Russia 72 Boys - USA 62
USA 60 Russia 57
Ukraine 53 Ukraine 36
Japan 32 Finland 33
Hungary 23 Japan 32