Mattie Rogers Talks Missing the Lift That Would Have Sent Her to the Olympics

Think about the disappointment you felt the last time you failed an attempt at hitting a one-rep max.

Now imagine how that would feel if took place on a stage in front of your family, friends, and hundreds of spectators, and it cost you a spot on the national Olympic team, and you might have an idea as to how Mattie Rogers felt in the video below.

Despite being awarded best overall lifter at the 2016 National Championships & Olympic Trials, this failed clean & jerk meant the final Rio Olympic squad for US women consisted of Jenny Arthur, Morghan King, and Sarah Robles while Rogers stayed home.

(Editor’s note: All three performed well, and Robles would go on to win America’s first Olympic weightlifting medal since 2000.)

That bar was loaded up with 141 kilograms (311 pounds). If Rogers had completed the lift, she would have beaten her personal record in the clean & jerk by a huge eight kilograms, which also would have been just four kilograms shy of her deadlift PR.

And keep in mind she had already broken the American snatch record that day with a 106kg (233.7lb) lift.

But it wasn’t in the cards. And after posting clips of the failed lift to her Instagram story last week, Rogers received enough questions about it that she took to her Facebook to discuss what the experience meant to her.

I simply did not have it in me that day. No excuses, no pity party, I just could not successfully lift that amount of weight on that day. Everything I had been working towards to that point was gone with that one missed lift. I sat in the stands and watched in Rio because of that one missed lift. And yeah, it absolutely crushed me. Still does.

She went on to explain that she was sharing her story to prove that in weightlifting, things don’t happen as you plan.

Years of sacrifice and dedication to a certain goal may not be enough. Be emotional, be pissed off, be bitter, but move past it. Use it. Learn from it. The goal is not a certain end point, but the entire journey. I’m thankful for my successes and my failures. I’m thankful for the supporters and the non believers. If you want something, fucking work for it. No excuses. And if it doesn’t work out the first time… Work. Harder.

In sports, business, and life, there are very few achievements that don’t require plenty of failures along the way. Rogers’ message is a powerful one: learn to deal with and learn from failure. It’s the only path to becoming stronger.

Featured image via Mattie Rogers on Facebook.


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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.