Michigan Woman Notches USA’s Best Olympic Result In 21 Years
Kate Nye was only a year old the last time a USA Olympic weightlifter did this well. And she did it overcoming tremendous obstacles.
Nye, who is from Oakland County, won the silver medal in the 76-kg (167 pound) weightlifting class, the highest medal by a USA lifter since Tara Knott hit gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Nye lifted 249 kilograms (548 pounds) in her two best lifts to take second place behind Ecuador's Neisi Dajomes, who took the gold with a 263 kilogram total.
Nye's two lifts broke down this way, she lifted 138 kilos (304 pounds) in the clean and jerk, and 111 kilos (244 pounds) in the snatch.
The clean and jerk is when the weight is brought to the shoulders first and rested, and then lifted overhead. The snatch is a direct pull from the floor to overhead.
Nye was a level 9 gymnast as a teenager, and later took to the workout program CrossFit, where she learned Olympic weightlifting and found her true passion.
Nye became the USA's youngest ever world champion in 2019 at age of 20, and was looking forward to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when CoVid hit, kicking off a tumultuous year for her.
"I think this last year is the most challenging year of my career, so far. I made it to the top in 2019 in my true weight class, which is 71kg, and then after that it was kind of, let’s get into this Olympic weight class and figure things out. Between that, COVID, a coaching switch (to Spencer Arnold), lots of personal stuff with my mental health, it’s been a really hard year, but I think all of those trials and tribulations make me the person I am today, and I don’t think I’d be in this second-place spot without them."
Nye has been open about her battle with bipolar disorder.
"I hope that I can show people what it means to be bipolar," she recently told USA Today. "I think it’s important for athletes to be regarded as humans and not just robots for people’s entertainment and I think mental health and people thinking about the struggles really humanizes us and I hope we can see more of it."
She will receive a cumulative $47,500 for her silver-medal success: $25,000 from USA Weightlifting and $22,500 from the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee's Operation Gold.
Sarah Robles took the bronze medal in the 87 kg category, becoming the first US woman to win two weightlifting medals.
Sarah also has Michigan ties, having trained in Marquette at the Olympic Center at Northern Michigan University, where she also was a student.
“It’s a really big deal,” Sarah said of her historic performance. “I’ve struggled a lot throughout my career, it almost feels like I’ve been going uphill both ways with the wind against me. Going from the bottom in the sport, to the top in the sport, to making history in this sport means a lot to me.”
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