9-Year-Old Weightlifting Prodigy Becomes the First Person on Earth to Clean and Jerk 2x Their Bodyweight

Published 01/24/2023, 7:00 AM EST

9-year-old Rory Van Ulft’s Olympics weightlifting journey has been unique. Unlike most weightlifting athletes excelling in their sport, Van Ulft didn’t start as an Olympic weightlifter. For the Canadian, weightlifting began as additional training to gather strength for gymnastics. However, she began posting incredible numbers in the gym as awestruck adults watched from the sidelines. By the time she turned 8, Rory Van Ulft could clean and jerk 100 lbs. About a year later, on January 21, she made history during a local competition in Ontario.

In an event organized by the Ontario Weightlifting Association, Rory Van Ulft became the youngest weightlifter to clean and jerk twice her body weight at the Variety Village Open. Earlier, the 9-year-old weightlifter uploaded a video of the lift on her Instagram to share the necessary details—age, body weight, and how much she lifted above her head.

A historic moment for the sport of weightlifting

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On the cusp of turning 10, the Ontario native participated in the Variety Village Open. “Aged only 9 years, 350 days, weightlifter and gymnast Rory Van Ulft just became the youngest PERSON (man or woman) in history ever to clean & jerk double body weight in competition,” read her Instagram caption.

 

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A post shared by Rory van Ulft (@roryvanulft)

The weightlifting prodigy also wrote she weighed 32.8 kg (72.4 lb) at the time of the lift. The Olympic weightlifter performed the clean and jerk with a weight of 66 kg (145.5 lb). In the video, Ulft walks up to the barbell after rubbing chalk on her hands. The clean phase of the lift goes smoothly, and while she takes a few steps to the side after performing the jerk, the young weightlifter completes the lift.

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After completing the lift, Ulft ran to her coach, who cheered her on from behind and hugged him. Ulft also dedicated her respect to her coach, Spencer Moorman, in the caption. “An enormous thank-you to Coach Spencer Moorman (who deserves to win Coach of the Year in AT LEAST one country for this!” she wrote. Besides being a gymnast and a weightlifter, she also excels at another discipline, powerlifting.

Powerlifter Rory has done the unthinkable unofficially in the past

Lifting twice what she weighs above her head takes incredible strength. However, Ulft has deadlifted three times her body weight. On September 12, 2022, Rory Van Ulft posted a video on her Instagram where she deadlifted 111 kg (244 lb). The Olympic weightlifter weighed 32.36 kg (71.34 lb) and was 9 years and 217 days old.

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A post shared by Rory van Ulft (@roryvanulft)

The weightlifter wrote that the lift was “over 3.43 times (her) body weight.” However, she didn’t perform the lift during a competition, and it’s not an official powerlifting record.

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What did you make of Rory Van Ulft’s incredible strength? Do you believe she’ll set Olympic records in the future? Let us know your thought in the comments.

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Sagnik Bagchi

382 articles

Sagnik Bagchi is a US Sports writer for EssentiallySports. He has completed his Bachelor's and Master's in English Literature from the University of Calcutta. He has experience working as a freelance MMA writer for Sportskeeda.

Edited By: Jahnabi Choudhury

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