-105kg Weightlifter Wes Kitts Wins Gold at 2018 Pan Ams

Wes Kitts has done it. After earning silver at last year’s Pan American Weightlifting Championships, the 27-year-old weightlifter returned to the contest to take first place in the extremely competitive -105kg weight class.

Kitts, who is coached by Dave Spitz at California Strength, was Team USA’s only -105kg athlete at the Pan Ams and successfully completed two snatches: 165 kilograms (363.8 pounds) and 172 kilograms (379.2 pounds). He missed his third lift of 181 kilograms (399 pounds), which would have beaten his American record by 5 whole kilos. We can’t embed the video, but you can watch the 172kg snatch here.

[CJ Cummings was another standout performance for Team USA this year. Watch his American record breaking snatch here!]

When it came time for the clean & jerks, Kitts opened with 202 kilograms and missed 212 kilograms, dropping it from the front rack before jerking. He tried it again for his third lift and successfully completed it — we believe this 212kg lift is the heaviest clean & jerk he has made in competition.

[The heaviest lift we’ve ever seen from him was this 215-kilogram clean & jerk made in training.] 

With his clean & jerks over, Wes Kitts totaled 384 kilograms (846.6lb) for first place, beating out Ecuador’s Jorge David Arroyo, who himself beat Kitts for gold at last year’s Pan Ams.

Things went pretty well for Kitts at last year’s Pan Ams, though. They were held in Miami in July, and the former college football athlete broke the American snatch record — his own — by one kilogram, lifting 175 kilograms (385.5 pounds). That lift earned him silver in the snatch.

The clean & jerks didn’t go quite so smoothly, with Kitts missing both his second and third lifts. He collapsed under the clean in his final lift of 209 kilograms, appearing to have put too much pressure on his windpipe and arteries (he was fine), but he totaled 375 kilos and earned silver overall, with Arroyo totaling 382 kilos.

Five months later he set another American record in the snatch with 176 kilograms at the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships in Anaheim.

He didn’t earn any medals in Anaheim, but it was a great achievement for Kitts and all of Team USA. Now with his first gold medal under his weightlifting belt, the future is looking bright for Wes Kitts.

Featured image via @cal_strength on Instagram.


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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.