The Olympic Games is the pinnacle of the sport of weightlifting. It is the opportunity for weightlifters to own a piece of glory, to forever commemorate their dedication to the sport. Being an Olympian is the most exclusive title within the sport. Plenty of weightlifters can claim participation in world championship events, but very few become Olympians.
Youth athletes now have the opportunity to participate in the Youth Olympic Games. The Youth Olympics is a relatively new event. It was first held in 2010 and has taken place only twice (2010 and 2014). This sporting event occurs every four years in the even-numbered gap years between the Olympic Games.
The next Youth Olympics will be held in Buenos Aires in 2018. The United States will bring four athletes to the event–two male and two female. Depending on the number of spots allocated to the United States, it is possible that only one male and one female will compete at the Games, with the other two serving as alternates.
Who will the lucky athletes be?
The Selection Process
Eligibility for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games is straightforward. An athlete must:
- Be a national of the United States.
- Be born in 2001, 2002, or 2003.
- Compete at the Youth National Championships/Youth Olympic Games Trials (June 14-17, 2018)
- Have participated in one of the following events:
- 2017 IWF Youth World Championships – Bangkok, Thailand (April 6-10, 2017)
- 2017 Pan American Youth Championships – Cali, Columbia (October 21-28, 2017)
- 2018 Pan American Youth Championships – Guadalajara, Mexico (March 10-17, 2018)
There are currently only five athletes that fit the selection requirements: Seth Tom, Emma Nye, Antwan Kilbert, Taylor Babb and Athena Schrijver.
This is because only one of the three qualifying events has taken place, and almost all of the participants in that qualifying event–2017 Youth Worlds–are too old to participate in the Youth Olympic Games.
So, who will represent the U.S. at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games?!
From the pool of eligible athletes, USA Weightlifting will select the top male and female athletes based on their likelihood of winning a medal at the Games. The calculation method is detailed in USA Weightlifting’s Selection Procedures for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
Based on USAW’s criteria, the two athletes who are currently most eligible to represent the U.S. at the Youth Olympic Games are:
Taylor Babb is a 16 year-old lifter from Tennessee. She holds 6 current Youth American Records. Based on Taylor’s performance at Youth Worlds, she has an 85% chance of bringing home a gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games. Taylor would make an excellent choice to represent the USA because she is a very consistent lifter–often going 6-for-6 in competitions.
Antwan Kilbert holds the Youth American Record for the snatch in the 56 kg weight class (14-15 age group). He is coached by Jimmy Duke at Lift for Life in St. Louis, Missouri. Based on Antwan’s performance at Youth Worlds, he has a 74% chance of bringing home a gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games. Antwan has shown an impressive amount of growth in a short period of time and is a focused, driven lifter.
Two more qualifying events remain before the Youth Olympic Games Trials. Stay tuned to hear about more promising athletes!
To qualify for the Youth Olympic Games, athletes must also comply with IWF Special Anti-Doping Regulations and be a member in good standing with USAW. For full details on qualification and selection, see USA Weightlifting’s Selection Procedures for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
If you can’t find the answer to your question there, contact Phil Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of Lifting.Life.