Katherine Nye Voted the IWF’s Female Lifter of the Year

It's the first time a U.S. athlete has won since 1982.

The votes are in, democracy works, and the International Weightlifting Federation has announced 2019’s Lifters of the Year, as chosen by you, the fans. This was not decided in a musty room of fusty bureaucrats, this was a decision that was made open to everyone on Earth and over 50,000 people had their say during the month of voting. The winners are:

  • Lasha Talakhadze (Georgia, +109kg)
  • Katherine Nye (USA, -71kg)

This is Talakhadze’s third consecutive time winning the title and it’s the first time for the 21-year-old Nye.

The IWF made the announcement and emphasized that this is the first time an athlete from the United States has won the title since 1982. Talakhadze, they noted, was more or less fated to win, as they wrote:

No wonder, he laid the foundations for this honour with further stupefying world records and another world champion title in 2019 in the superheavy category.

Yes, Lasha finished 2019 having set the record for the heaviest total of all time with 484kg/1,067lb, plus he set two new world records with his 220kg/485lb snatch and 264kg/582lb clean & jerk, all at the 2019 World Championships this September. Swipe through this Instagram post to watch them.

Unofficially, in 2019 he also made what we’re pretty sure is the heaviest snatch ever made on or off the competition stage, when he lifted 221 kilos while training for the 2019 European Championships. It’s slightly possible heavier snatches have been made somewhere, but it’s definitely the heaviest snatch ever made on camera. So we put it first in our video below.

Katherine Nye’s 2019 was also a year of firsts when she became World Champion, hitting a 112kg/247lb snatch, 136kg/300lb clean & jerk, and 246kg/542.3lb total. That performance won Nye three gold medals, set a junior world record in the snatch, and her snatch and total set both senior American records and Pan American records.

Plus, she earned a spot on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list. Nye wrote on Instagram,

So proud to be IWF’s Lifter of the Year🎊🤩

I couldn’t have done this without my coach (Josh Galloway at Team Hercules), all of you who voted, and my wonderful family💗 I had the best year of my life in 2019 and this is just the cherry on top. This is the first time since the 80’s an American has received this honor, which makes this even more cool😎 congrats to (Lasha Talakhadze) for winning on the men’s side and all the other nominees! Onwards to an even better 2020 🏋🏼‍♀️🇺🇸

Lasha, meanwhile, just posted this very cool picture (which we saw on the IWF’s Twitter page) without any caption. 

The Final Tally

This year’s award had more total votes than any Lifter of the Year before, with 50,514 votes total. Here’s the tally.


1. TALAKHADZE Lasha (GEO, +109kg), 17,084

2. MARTIROSYAN Simon (ARM, 109KG), 5,514

3. LYU Xiaojun (CHN, 81kg), 2,169

4. SHI Zhiyong (CHN, 73kg), 1,053

5. OM Yun Chol (PRK, 55kg), 410


1. NYE Katherine Elizabeth (USA, 71kg), 9,105

2. KUO Hsing-Chun (TPE, 49KG), 7,755

3. SOLIS Arboleda Leidy Yessenia (COL, 81KG), 4,784

4. DENG Wei (CHN 64KG), 1,796

5. RIM Jong Sim (PRK 76KG,), 844

It was relatively close for Nye, in the end! Well, a lot closer than it was for Lasha. Congratulations to both winners on this tremendous honor.

Featured image via @iwfnet on Twitter