Tara Nott-Cunningham (born Tara Nott) is one of America’s most decorated Olympic weightlifters, having competed in both the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympic Games. In 2000 — the first year women’s weightlifting was contested at the Olympic level — Tara was one of four women to make Team USA’s squad. She had an outstanding performance and was originally awarded a silver medal in the women’s 48kg bodyweight category.
However, the athlete who initially finished ahead of her ended up testing positive for a banned substance while the Games were still underway. Just a few days after finishing in second place, Tara’s medal was upgraded to gold, making her the first women’s weightlifting gold medalist in Olympic history. This also ended a 40 year gold medal drought for American weightlifters.
We’d like to give a special shoutout to Bruce Klemens weightlifting photography.
[Related: Cheryl Haworth on winning Olympic Bronze in 2000!]
That meant another medal ceremony needed to be scheduled. In an interesting turn of events, Tara actually missed her official gold medal ceremony in order to attend the session of her teammate, USA Weightlifting’s Cheryl Haworth. Tara would receive her gold medal in a special ceremony later on. Tara would go on to compete in Athens and also won gold medals at two Pan American Games: 1999 and 2003. She also set numerous American records and was USA Weightlifting’s National Champion seven times.
Tara was inducted into the International Weightlifting Hall of Fame in 2015.
Tara Nott-Cunningham’s 2000 Olympic Victory
In this video, Tara Nott-Cunningham joins BarBend to discuss:
00:00 Qualifying for the 2000 Olympics
00:18 Representing women in weightlifting
00:50 Tara’s history making session
01:20 Finding out about her Olympic gold
01:57 Missing her own medal ceremony!
02:20 The fondest memories from the Olympic experience
Editor’s Note: BarBend is the Official Media Partner of USA Weightlifting. Special thanks to USA Weightlifting for their help with this video.