Wes Kitts clean & jerking at the Russian Grand Prix.
Wes Kitts Russian Grand Prix

It was a small competition, to be sure, but that doesn’t make the performances any less impressive. American lifters put up three podium finishes at the IWF Russian President’s Cup in Kazan over the weekend, and heavyweight Wes Kitts in particular showed great promise after only recently picking up weightlifting full time.

The event featured just five weight classes: Men’s 94, 105, and 105+, and women’s 75 and 75+ kilos. No session had more than nine lifters total, and the relatively small competition gave Americans an all-too-rare chance to shine on the international weightlifting stage (videos of some of the lifting down below).

  • Angelo Bianco (who normally lifts as a 77 kilo lifter and weighed in here at 85.75 kilos) finished third in the 94 category with a 327 total.
  • Wes Kitts finished third in the 105 kilo category with a 365 total.
  • Jessica Phillips – currently training for the CrossFit Games’ team portion – took third in the 75 kilo class with a 204 kilo total.
  • Rebecca Gerdon (75), Rob Blackwell (94), Ethan Harak (105), Donovan Ford (a light 105+), and Jason Starks (105+) also competed.

Kitts received special attention in the International Weightlifting Federation’s official recap. A former competitive fitness athlete and member of the NPGL’s New York Rhinos team in GRID, Kitts only started focusing on weightlifting in the past year. In late 2015, he moved to California Strength to train full time with some of the USA’s best lifters, including Blackwell and Spencer Moormon. They train under the tutelage of Cal Strength Head Coach Dave Spitz.

Full results here. But before crunching the numbers, take a look at some of the actual lifting; we’ve embedded a video from the 94 kilo men’s clean & jerk session below.

Read the full recap on the IWF site here.

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BarBend's Co-Founder and Editorial Director, David is a veteran of the health & fitness industry, with nearly a decade of experience building and running editorial teams in the space. He also serves as a color commentator for both National and International weightlifting competitions, many through USA Weightlifting. David graduated from Harvard University and served for several years as Editorial Director/Chief Content Officer of Greatist.com. In addition to his work in the health & fitness industry, David has been a writer for Fortune and Fortune.com, as well as a contributor to Forbes.com, Slate, and numerous other outlets across the web and in print. He's especially passionate about the intersection of strength sports and quality, professional media coverage — overlapping interests shared by the BarBend editorial team and which drive their content strategy each and every day. David is a proud Kentucky native. In his free time, David is a voiceover actor and can be heard in animated films, independent shorts, music videos, commercials, and podcasts.