Special report: 2008 Olympic Games
LOS ANGELES, March 23 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. weightlifting men's team will be represented by two athletes on the Olympic platform at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the U.S. Olympics Committee (USOC) said on Sunday.
Powered by consistent performances by all eight men competing for the U.S. at the 2008 Pan American Weightlifting Championships and final Olympic qualifier, this weekend in Callao, Peru, the U.S. men's team secured two Olympic slots.
"I am extremely proud of our team," said Dennis Snethen, Interim Executive Director for USA Weightlifting.
"We accomplished our goal for this competition which was to secure the two available Olympic slots. All of our guys contributed to this success with consistent lifts in a high pressure meet. Now we move on to the Olympic Trials in Atlanta, Georgia in May where these teammates will now compete to see who the two Olympians will be."
Canada also secured two Olympic slots and Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina each earned one Olympic slot a piece through their team's performances at this important event.
The top eight U.S. men represented the USA at this critical event. The event was full of pressure for these eight individuals as U.S. representation on the men's 2008 Olympic platform was dependent upon their combined performances.
Following the conclusion of the 2007 World Weightlifting Championships in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in September, the U.S. men thought they had done enough to secure three Olympic slots as they sat in a 27th place combined finish from the results of the 2006 and 2007 World Championships.
This would have made the U.S. the final country to qualify slots for the Olympic Games. Christmas of 2007 was not kind to the USA men as the grinch (in the form of the International Weightlifting Federation website) visited, taking away the three Olympic slots that the team had thought they had secured.
The International Weightlifting Federation re-calculated the team standings following doping positives by athletes from other teams and, despite the fact that no one on the U.S. team tested positive, the U.S. men dropped one position in the overall team rankings, thus losing the three Olympic slots they thought they had earned.
The shift in order, due to doping positives in teams that finished above Team USA, caused a re-shuffling of points and the final mathematical breakdown moved Chinese Taipei above the United States leaving the U.S. men's team as the first team not qualified for the Olympic Games.
The eight men that secured 2008 Olympic participation for the USA will move onto the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Weightlifting, May 16-17 in Atlanta, Georgia, where they will be vying with 22 other men for two positions and a chance to perform on the Olympic platform in Beijing.
For the eight men that represented the United States at the 2008 Pan American Weightlifting Championships, this event will count as their National Championships in regards to ranking going into the Olympic Trials and will be their secondary Olympic qualifying event.