Norik Vardanian is looking strong in preparation for the USA National Weightlifting Championships/Pan American Trials from May 5-8. So strong, in fact, that he just clean & jerked 1 kilogram above the American Record in training. (Norik is currently the American snatch record holder in the 94 kg class at 171 kilos.)
While Norik has gone back and forth between split and power jerks, it looks like he’s settled back on power — for now. We’ve seen him go as high as 221 kg on the power jerk (from the rack, back in 2013).
Though Norik looks to be in top shape compared to other American 94’s, he’s still not up to his career-best strength. In preparation for the 2012 London Olympic Games — where he represented Armenia and came in 11th with a 380 kilogram total — Vardanian clean & jerked 220 kilos.
If Vardanian’s technique looks sharp, you’re not alone in thinking that. He’s one of the more technical lifters among the US’s elite, and he’s a noted perfectionist when it comes to training and dialing in his movement. He’s also got he pedigree to match, and his father Yurik Vardanian (often spelled Yurik Vardanyan) is a 1980 Olympic Champion who’s generally considered among the best in the history of the sport. For reference, Yurik once totaled 405 kilograms in competition — weighing under 82.5 kilos. That total would have won gold in every weight class except +105 kgs at the 2016 European Weightlifting Championships.
Vardanian is the reigning silver medalist from the Pan American Championships. But even if he makes the Pan American team, a great performance there won’t be enough to get him back to the Olympics on its own; the US men will likely need a top-7 finish to earn a single Olympic spot for Rio. As of now, they have none, while the U.S. women have three.