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U.S. Could Get 10 Olympic Weightlifting Spots

April 3, 1996

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) _ The United States is guaranteed three spots in weightlifting in the Atlanta Olympics, but may wind up with as many as eight or 10 spots, the organizer of the final qualifying event said Wednesday.

Thirty weightlifters will compete this month in the final chance to qualify for the Olympics. Mark Henry, who competed in the 1992 Olympics, leads the way after setting American records at the national championships.

Henry lifted a record 881 3/4 pounds and broke his own record with a snatch of 396 3/4 pounds. He also had a record clean-and-jerk of 485 pounds.

Other top contenders for the Olympic field include Bryan Jacob of Alpharetta, Ga.; Vernon Patao of Wailuku, Hawaii; Tom Gough of Fairfax, Calif.; and Wes Barnett of St. Joseph.

The International Weightlifting Federation could award additional positions in the Olympics beyond the guaranteed three, depending on the results of the St. Joseph competition.

The St. Joseph trials will result in a team of 10 weightlifters being selected with three alternates. The U.S. Olympic Committee will then approve the lifters.

Dennis Snethen, a local coach organizing the trials, said he had received assurances that eight U.S. lifters and possibly as many as 10 would win Olympic slots.

The candidates will be ranked based on the percentage of the amount they lift of the minimum qualifying weights.

Three local lifters are in the field and could benefit from being at home.

``It might help, but when you step on stage, there’s no noise,″ said Larry Dice, who competes as a 218-pounder. ``The adrenalin starts flowing. You don’t think how heavy the weight is. You just do it.″

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