Masters at the American Open


Last week the senior American Open was held in Reno just one week after the World Championships in Houston.

So much great weightlifting in America this year!!

For once I was not glued to the live feed because I was worried that I had reached the limits of my family’s tolerance of my weightlifting obsession after their letting me go to Worlds alone over Thanksgiving.   For anyone interested, I had a grilled cheese with french fries from room service for Thanksgiving and loved every bite of it because it meant I had spent the day watching the best weightlifters in the world compete.

So instead of watching the live feed, I made donuts on Saturday to celebrate Chanukah which started Sunday night.  A whole week of celebrating your religion by eating fried foods.  Not a bad deal!  And Sunday had to go re-certify in trauma life saving.

But while I was munching and saving lives (at least on paper), great lifting was occurring in Reno.  What is most remarkable to me, is that a fairly large number of masters not only qualified for and competed in the Open, but a few actually platformed.  The 48kg Open champion is a master – Kelly Rexroad Williams – and the silver medalist in the 53kg class is also a master, Melanie Roach.  Both set American masters records with their platforming lifts and both qualified for senior nationals in 2016.

Jo Ann Aita set masters records in the snatch, clean&jerk and total in the 58kg class at 45 years old.  I believe the oldest master to lift was Robert Arroyo who is a 47yo 85kg lifter.

If you think about it, this is amazingly impressive.  That a former olympian and US senior record holder (Roach) is still kicking ass as a master may not sound remarkable at first glance but think about it again.  She’s 41, she’s had 5 children.  And she is still performing at the highest national level.

I am 47.  I know what 47 feels like.  The slower recovery, the more delicate line between sore and injured.  And yet Jo Ann Aita competed in the C class at a national meet.  And she has not always been a weightlifter.  She was a powerlifter for most of her youth I believe.  So she is accomplishing this remarkable performance without decades of olympic training behind her.

This may be the last year we see so many masters at a national event.  With the 77s going into an H class this year I”m thinking they’re going to raise entry totals in the future making it tougher for many masters to qualify.

So let’s just revel for a moment in the grey (or greying) hair that competed this year.  Kudos to each and every one of you.  You are all my heros.

If you want to peruse the results of the 2015 senior American Open, you can find them here



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