It’s a blur, it really is. As I remember it, and some things came back to me a little bit, we had a podcast recently on “The USA Weightlifting Podcast” where we got the ladies together. We had Tara Nott-Cunningham, we had Cara Heads-Slaughter, myself, and Robin Byrd-Goad, one of the greatest female weightlifters in the United States history that a lot of people are unaware of.
We were chatting about the blisters on our feet from the Hush Puppies in the opening ceremonies. Those brand new shoes, you don’t have time to break them in yet. Some of the stuff came back to me. The competition day, I remember, arriving to the venue. My whole family was there, my parents and my two sisters. We were messaging back and forth because they’re all excited.
My sisters have the American flags painted on their face. I wanted my mom to braid my hair. That was my primary concern was to get my mom to do the double braid. I was originally a softball player after all, how they do the one that the French braid, the one on each side.
I had to get my hair did, and we sat right out in front of the venue in Darling Harbour Convention Center, and she braided my hair. I remember I was really quiet, not too full of energy. That’s the thing, I still don’t understand sometimes people spending a lot of time getting themselves all riled up. I’m always just trying to relax. My family got used to that over the years.
My mom would be, “What’s wrong, she’s not feeling good.” I’m like, “Mom, just trying to be cool.” I was very quiet and I reassured them that it’s feeling good and everything. I remember warming up for the snatches. The only thing I remember about that, I had a competitor, her name was Agata Wróbel. Agata was a Polish weightlifter. She was the girl who always finished ahead of me.
If she got second place, I got third place. She got first place, I got second place. Since the first junior worlds in 1997, in Sofia, Bulgaria, when she just barely beat me, that was our trend. I remember coming off the floor with maybe, 110 kilos snatch or something, it was a last warm up.
She was directly across from me. We locked eyes and we both came up with the same weight and did that snatch. It was almost we had practiced it, but it was startling. I just remember that moment and having to really focus to not let that distract me. It was over so fast, I don’t even remember my [indecipherable 09:55] , I made about 115, 121, 25 and that 125 snatch, I had never done before.
I had missed 122.5 kilos, at the trials. Typically then, I would have to take a crack at it maybe [indecipherable 10:14] a weight or something like that and then the next time I feel it or whatever but then the next competition I knew I was going to get it, but we went straight from 120 to 125.
I was having a really good day, and I needed a little extra on that total for…because I was really good in the snatch and still had not developed the real massive base of strength. I had only been accumulating strength for four years. My clean and jerk was just a little bit behind, I think, compared to the other ladies.
I needed big snatch, I went out there, and I did it. I remember the barbell passing by my face fast, and then it was just over my head. I don’t know. I distinctly remember standing up with that and going, I just actually snatched that. That was very exciting and really, one of the few things that I remember.
The other thing that I remember in the clean and jerk, this is a funny story. I may have told you this before, the only thing I remember about the clean and jerk is my last attempt on the competition platform, and I went into the little holding area to sit my chair before I got called out, and I remember one of the seats was wet.
I was like, “Oh, that’s weird. I don’t want to sit in that chair.” I sat in a dry chair, and I went on platform called 145 kilo clean and jerk. It was my last lift. I had already made all my lifts. This gives me a six-for-six day and probably clinches the medal.
I go out there, and I get set, and I had a dynamic start. I’d kind of fidget around, then rolled the bar into me and then go, and right at that moment, I noticed that there had been a wet spot on the platform, and it had been dried up.
In that moment, the only thought that I had was, “Oh, somebody peed the platform, and that’s why one of those chairs was wet. I’m so glad I didn’t sit there.” as the bar was passing my knees and then I made that last clean and jerk.