-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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I’m a journalist with over seven years' reporting experience on four continents, with most of that spent covering health-related issues. My experience includes covering cholera outbreaks in Kenya and the clubbing scene in Shanghai, which is also where I wrote my first health article for an English language magazine. (It was on diarrhea.)After returning to Australia to finish up degrees in Journalism and International Relations I wound up in New York City, where I’ve worked for Men’s Health, VICE, Popular Science and others. I try to keep health relatively simple — it’s mostly vegetables and sweat — but I live to explore the debates, the fringes, the niche, and the nitty gritty.