C.J. Cummings of Beaufort works out Wednesday morning, March 25 as he trains for the 2020 Olympics. The Games have been postponed until Summer of 2021, but the laid back Cummings doesn’t seem to mind. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

Beaufort’s Cummings named to US Olympic Team

By Mike McCombs
Photo by Bob Sofaly

It was a forgone conclusion but now it’s official: C.J. Cummings is Tokyo-bound.

When USA Weightlifting announced its eight-person team for the 2021 Summer Olympic Games (July 23-Aug. 8, Tokyo) on Wednesday, Cummings name was on the list.

The youngest member of Team USA, Cummings, 20, was a favorite to make the team last year before the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the XXXII Olympic Summer Games to this summer.

“I’m from a small town where there’s barely any opportunity, so this opportunity for exposure and to go represent my country at the Olympics is a huge honor, not only for me but for my family, country and small town,” Cummings said in his Team USA bio on TeamUSA.org.

A four-time consecutive Junior world Champion, two-time Youth World Champion and holder of three International Weightlifting Federation World Records and 23 American records, Cummings was all but a lock to make the team.

On Tuesday night, Team Divergent Coach Ray Jones expressed “100 percent” confidence Cummings was on the team and didn’t plan to watch the announcement on Wednesday.

Cummings’ father, Clarence Cummings Sr., said Wednesday, “I’m excited and couldn’t be more proud,” though the news was expected.

Cummings and Team USA will travel to Honolulu, Hawaii in mid-July for a pre-Olympics training camp. According to USA Weightlifting, “the USAW Hawaii Strong Camp … will give athletes and their coaches the chance to train in a COVID-19 secure bubble with world-class support staff as well as giving friends and family the chance to be together to support the athletes.”

Technically, USA Weightlifting will submit its roster nominations to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee when the Olympic Qualification Period concludes May 31. But Wednesday, the organization was clear it did not anticipate any changes to the roster as it was announced.

Cummings last competed on April 21 when he successfully defended his overall gold medal and broke his own American record in the Snatch (156 kg) in the 73 kg weight classification at the 2020 Pan Am Games in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic. Those games were also postponed from 2020.

“All in all, it was a great performance and I’m just happy to have won another championship,” Cummings told USA Weightlifting at the time.

Cummings is attempting to become the second Olympic gold-medal winner from Beaufort. Joe Frazier won the gold medal in boxing in 1964. Ironically, those games were also in Tokyo.

Mike McCombs is the editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.

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