Monday, May 20, 2024

Weightlifting News: 33-Year-Old Mary Theisen-Lappen Quit Her Job To End USA’s 24-Year-Old Medal Drought At Paris Olympics

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Full-time training, part-time coaching, retiring, and then starting with a full-time coaching career. That’s the career path opted for by most athletes. The USA’s top-ranking weightlifter, Mary Theisen-Lappen, too, followed the same path, but she’s doing it in reverse. “It’s definitely different, and it’s definitely backward,” she admitted with a grin.

Mary, now 33, is a part-time coach and still trains to showcase her prowess with weights across world championships. As evident from her actions, she has always opted to march to the beat of a different drum. And that’s what makes her apt for ending the USA’s 24-year-old medal drought.

From an unexpected contender to the USA’s medal hopeful


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Since 2000, the USA has been on a hunt for a women’s weightlifter who’ll be ending the 24-year drought by securing gold at the Olympics. Recently, the hunt came across Mary as she penned, “It was just not a good competition for me, but I left knowing what I need to work on before I compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Time to dig deep!!” on her official Instagram post.

This was after her recent win at the 2024 International Weightlifting Federation World Cup. As the event was the final weightlifting Olympic qualifier, Mary with all her strength lifted the weights. Consequently, she not only accomplished a qualifying position but also made it to the top 10 at the Olympic Qualification Ranking.

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Now, she is the USA’s No. 1 lifter in the 81KG category and No. 5 across the globe. Not only this, but she is also the third-highest-ranked weightlifter (women) in the USA. And, that’s why USA’s hunt seems to have ended up at her. But, Mary had not been a weightlifter since the beginning of her career.


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Mary’s transition to weightlifting

Back during her university days, Mary was a track and field contender. Initially, she competed across multiple disciplines to identify her strengths. Eventually, she ended up as a star thrower, accumulating All-American honors and a 9th place finish at the 2014 US Championships in shot put throw.

Even though she intended to continue with throwing as a career, she took a break that brought a couple of changes in her plans. “I decided to let my body heal from 12 years of track and channel that passion into coaching,” she said in an exclusive interview with Team USA. After the break, she became the primary coach for the University of Wisconsin.


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Once again, her mind changed, and she started weightlifting in 2018. In a turn of events, her weightlifting took her to her first World Championship wherein she concluded the event with a silver medal. Since then, she has been adding accolades to her long list of accomplishments.

Now, the question is: Will “Coach Mary” be able to end USA’s 24-year-old medal drought?

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