BEAUFORT, S.C. — The United States’ best hope for its first Olympic men’s weightlifting medal in more than two decades rolls his rugged palms around a metal bar, small clumps of chalk falling to the rubbery platform below his feet. His legs serve as pillars as he explosively hoists more than 220 pounds over his head.
This being the final lift of his light workout, Clarence “C.J.” Cummings Jr. smiles broadly, and the gym’s fluorescent lights reflect in his braces. At 5 feet 2 and 136 pounds, Cummings in many ways appears to be the blueprint of a lifter in his weight class: toned arms, ripped legs, textbook technique. He’s also 14 years old, which means every prototype anyone has conceived in the sport has been blown away.
Dennis Snethen, 54, a two-time U.S. Olympic coach and member of the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame, said recently, “In all my years I’ve seen talented kids but nothing like C.J.” Full Article