Gone are the days when we’d have to wait until a competition to see who’s next to make some noise in USA Weightlifting. Thanks to social media, we can already see the next generation of great USA weightlifters getting strong and honing their technique.
Unlike other sports like gymnastics or even CrossFit, weightlifters often get well into adulthood before they peak. The average age of the United States’ 2016 Olympians is 27, with Morghan King and Kendrick Farris both competing at 30 years old. It’s crazy to think that these 12 year olds on Instagram might not be truly in the hunt for nearly two decades, and it’s going to be fun to watch them develop over time!
Probably the most famous (or at least, Instafamous) weightlifting up and comer is 11 year old Elle Hatamiya. Thanks to her mom, who has documented all of Elle’s athletic endeavors, we’ve been able to watch Elle crush it in weightlifting, gymnastics, and martial arts gym. She placed first in her 31kg weight class at the 2016 Youth Nationals, snatching 26kg and clean & jerking 33kg. She also has fantastic mobility and already front squats 1.5x her bodyweight. Most importantly, she appears to really love the sport.
Weightlifting is in the Maizels’ blood. At 11 years old, Brixton is the youngest son of weightlifter Patty Soxx Maizels. He trains at his parents’ facility, Maizels Training Hall, along with his older brother and Team USA lifter Tyler Bear Maizels. At just 65lbs, Brixton has a lot of growing to do, but his 4th place finish at the 2016 Youth Nationals confirms that he’s on the right track. Furthermore, Brixton clearly has fun with his training and doesn’t take it too seriously. As anyone who has ever burned out knows, having fun is the key to long term success.
And then theres Kalee Mays, the pre-teen weightlifter (and cheerleader) from Texas. Kalee placed 2nd in her 44kg weight class at the 2016 Youth Nationals with a 38kg snatch and a 58kg clean & jerk. Not only was her 58kg clean and jerk a PR, but she set a new Texas State Record for the women’s 13 & under age group. Kalee’s accomplishments are all the more impressive because she’s not really built like a traditional weightlifter. She’s tall, lean, and has long arms and legs — you’d never guess that she could produce so much power.
Even though Hutch Friend isn’t (yet) active on social media, you should remember his name and lookout for big things to come from him. The 12 year old, 35kg weightlifter set three American Records at 2016 Youth Nationals and beat the second place finisher by an astonishing 29 kilograms. His accomplishments aren’t a fluke. In 2015, Hutch also set Youth American Records in the 13 and under 31kg category, and received the USA Best Lifter award in his division.
Training alongside Hutch at Club Boris in Merriam, Kansas, 12 year old Abby Flickner is also progressing well. Unlike some of her competitors who dabble in multiple sports, Abby is dedicated solely to weightlifting. She’s already sponsored by MarcPro and isn’t shy about her goals: Abby wants to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Given that she’s already got a double bodyweight back squat and fights like crazy when the odds are against her, she just might make it.
Featured Image: Elle Hatamiya (@elle.hot.tamale)