A heavy lift


Courtesy photos

Rogers snags No. 2 spot nationwide in Olympic weightlifting

PINEDALE – A group of athletes put Sublette County on the map at USA Weightlifting’s Youth and Junior Nationals in Colorado Springs from June 24-July 2 – the prestigious season-culminating event for Olympic weightlifters.

Pinedale High School alumna and University of Wyoming junior Emma Rogers captured multiple medals at the tournament and is currently the No. 2-ranked weightlifter nationwide in the 87-kilogram junior division for Olympic weightlifting.

Rogers snapped up silver in the snatch category, bronze in the clean and jerk category and silver for total weight lifted.

“It is wild that Emma is second in the country,” said coach Mariana Green of Iron Kitchen Weightlifting Club in Pinedale. “Emma can really take that adrenaline rush from the crowds and use it positively.”

Olympic weightlifters typically peak in seven to eight years, Green remarked. Rogers is already reaching her potential with only two years of experience in the sport under her belt, Green added.

Rogers, a kinesiology major at UW, is setting her sights on training to compete in weightlifting at the Olympics, Green said.

Young athlete Gabriella Green competed in her second national tournament in the female youth category in Colorado Springs. Tucker Filkins and Hazel Dale entered their first national event in Olympic weightlifting in the male youth and female youth categories, respectively.

Gabriella Green succeeded in lifting the equivalent of her body weight at the meet. Filkins and Dale both hit their personal lift goals and demonstrated the courage to get up on a platform in front of an audience for the first time, said coach Mariana Green.

Mariana and Ty Green host morning sessions with young athletes several days a week to get them in shape for local and regional competitions. Weightlifters may then qualify for Nationals at these events.

The path to becoming an Olympic weightlifter takes plenty of “mental fortitude,” said Mariana Green. Athletes frequently train alone, rising early in the morning to dedicate hours of time before school and afternoon sports and other activities. Over the course of the busy college year, Rogers trained from the University of Wyoming with the Greens via the FaceTime app, said Mariana Green.

Olympic weightlifting is a strength sport, although mastering the proper technique to lift the bar and weights in a fluid motion from the ground to above one’s head, referred to as “clean and jerk,” sets the great athletes apart from the rest of the pack, explained Green.

Olympic weightlifting differs from power lifting because weights are only lifted from the ground into the air rather than from a bench position, she added.

The emphasis in Olympic weightlifting is on athleticism, Green said. Many weightlifters start the sport as a training regimen for other athletic endeavors. Rogers commenced Olympic weightlifting as a way to be more explosive off the starting blocks as a swimmer for the combined Sublette County girls’ swim team, Green noted. Rogers realized a talent in the sport early on and is now able to lift up to 190 kilograms, or an astonishing 419 pounds.