22-year-old Kate Nye delivered the best performance for an American weightlifter at the Olympics in four and a half decades Sunday, winning a silver medal in the women's 76kg/156 lbs. category at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Nye lifted a personal-best total of 249kg between a 111kg snatch and 138kg clean & jerk. She placed behind only Ecuadorian Neisi Dajomes, who won her country's first weightlifting medal of any color, a gold with a 263kg total.
Nye, a native of Berkley, Michigan, first took up weightlifting as a teenager through CrossFit training. In 2019, she became the youngest American to win a world weightlifting championship when she lifted a total of 248kg (546 lbs.) to top the non-Olympic 71 kg/156 lbs. weight class. She was 20 at the time.
She moved up five kilos in the two years since to compete at the Olympics in the 76 kg/156 lbs. division.
Nye completed her first snatch attempt at 107kg with relative comfort. She was just as effortless on her second lift at 111kg.
For her final snatch attempt, Nye successfully raised a personal best 114kg in what appeared to be a dream start to the competition. Nye was visibly thrilled and threw her arms in the air immediately after being awarded the lift.
That proved to be a costly error.
The jury of officials put the lift under review, ultimately ruling it a no-lift when replay showed that Nye removed her hands from the bar before it had fallen past her shoulders. For safety reasons, weightlifters must guide the bar’s fall at least to shoulder level with both hands. Failing to do so disqualifies the lift.
Nye had roughly 30 minutes to come to grips with her error, put it behind her and refocus for the second half of the competition, the clean and jerk. Her second lift at 111kg had her in third position at the break.
Meanwhile, Ecuador’s Neisi Dajomes, chasing her nation’s first-ever weightlifting medal, hit all three of her snatch attempts including a 118kg mark on her final lift to grab the lead. She let out a determined roar in celebration, but not before the bar had cleared her shoulders.
Nye took her first clean & jerk attempt at 133kg. She completed the lift without issue, deliberately guiding the bar all the way to the floor. She glared with defiance at the jury as she walked off the platform.
Dajomes proceeded to successfully lift 135kg. Then Nye again, 138kg with authority, an personal best.
The Ecuadorian improved to 140kg on her second clean & jerk attempt to take a nine-kilo lead into the final attempts.
Dajomes put 145kg on the bar to try to put the gold medal out of Nye’s reach. The attempt was initially ruled a no-lift despite Dajomes getting the bar overhead, but a jury’s review awarded her the lift. A perfect six-for-six performance to put Ecuador on the weightlifting map.
Nye went for an adventurous final attempt at 148kg put came up empty. She beamed with delight, knowing she had just secured the best result for an American weightlifter at the Olympic Games since 1964.