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Barnett Locks Up Last Guaranteed Spot for Olympics

April 29, 1996

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) _ Hometown favorite Wes Barnett clean-and-jerked an American record 479 1/2 pounds on his final lift Sunday, earning the third and final guaranteed for the United States in weightlifting at the Olympics.

Barnett’s lift gave him a total of 843 1/2 pounds in the 108-kilogram class, and delighted the yelling and cheering crowd.

Barnett was scheduled to lift 473 3/4 pounds, a weight he failed to hoist on his second of three attempts. But the weight would have left him fifth, so he added the extra pounds in a do-or-die final try.

``My script was a lot easier than that,″ said Barnett, also an Olympian in 1992. ``I thought it would be a lot easier than that the second time, but it wasn’t. There was some hesitation on the coaching staff about going up. They were worried. I was worried.

``But I knew I had to do 217 (kilograms) to get third. All the yelling and screaming really helped. If I was in another place, who knows if I would have made 217. I wish the Olympics were in St. Joseph.″

Lifters are ranked regardless of class based on a percentage of a minimum standard weight lifted for each class. The United States is only guaranteed three places at the Olympics.

The U.S. Weightlifting Federation, however, is lobbying the international federation to get at least eight and as many as 10 berths.

Mark Henry, a super heavyweight, already had qualified coming into this weekend’s two-day Olympic trials. He was required by the rules to appear Sunday, made one snatch and withdrew.

Tim McRae, a 70-kilogram lifter, qualified on Saturday when the lighter classes lifted.

The remainder of the top 10 after Sunday’s competition included: Bryan Jacob, 59 kilos; Constantine Starikovich, 108 kilos; Tom Gough, 91 kilos; Vernon Patao, 64 kilos; Pete Kelley, 99 kilos; Thomas Ingalske, super heavyweight; and Thanh Nguyen, 64 kilos.

Staricovich lifted a total of 837 1/2 pounds while Ingalsbe of 826 1/2 pounds.

The U.S. Wrestling Federation had been ordered Friday by a federal arbitrator to allow Starikovich to compete. Starikovich, who has been a U.S. citizen only 16 days, had angered the USWF by leaving the country for five months to return to Russia.

``This releases a lot of the tension of the past six months,″ Starikovich said. ``I want to put everything behind me. I want to create a new relationship.″

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