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McRae Leads Way in First Day of Olympic Weightlifting Trials

April 28, 1996

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) _ Tim McRae set national records in the snatch, clean and jerk and for total weight Saturday to move into second place on the American qualifying list for the Olympics.

McRae, of Daytona Beach, Fla., finished with 314 pounds in the snatch, 385 3/4 in the clean and a total 699 3/4 pounds in the 70-kilogram class, missing a chance to move ahead of super heavyweight Mark Henry when he failed on his last clean-and-jerk attempt at 396 3/4.

Lifters in the lower weight classes had their chance Saturday to improve their place for one of three guaranteed spots the United States gets at the Summer Games. The United States could get as many as 10 berths. The heavier classes were to lift Sunday.

Competitors are ranked based on a percentage of a minimum standard weight lifted in each class.

Greg Shouten, also in the 70-kilo class, moved into 10th place with a snatch of 297 1/2 pounds and a total of 650 1/4.

Most hurt by competition was Vernon Patao in the 64-kilo class, who fell to fourth after failing to lift a weight in the clean and jerk and ending up scoreless.

McRae had been on an aggressive program to lose weight and drop down to 73 kilograms from the 76-kilo class last year because of new rules that limit participants in the Atlanta Olympics.

``It’s just something I had to do because we only have three,″ he said. ``My body doesn’t respond very well to losing weight. I’m very muscular and my body just doesn’t respond well. I had to change a lot of habits. Not eating at 11 at night. My last meal is at six.

``I ate a lot of pasta. No hamburgers. No Taco Bell. A lot of noodles, a lot of pasta. I spit a lot.″

The U.S. is guaranteed three spots in the Atlanta Olympics, although the International Weightlifting Federation may award wildcard spots.

Jim Schmitz, president of the U.S. Weightlifting Federation, said he was lobbying the federation for more spots and was confident the Americans would end up with as much as eight and possibly a full team of 10.

``I think they understand the mistake they made with this new selection process,″ Schmitz said. ``We’re the host country. It just makes sense to have a full team there.″

Chad Ikei tied three American records in the 54-kilo class with a snatch of 225 3/4 pounds, a clean-and-jerk of 281 pounds and a total of 506 3/4.

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