Latter-day Saints in Olympics, day 10: Bronze in weightlifting, plus updates in basketball and beach volleyball

Team USA’s Sarah Robles won bronze in weightlifting, adding to the one she won in 2016, in the 10th day of Olympic competition on Monday, Aug. 2. She was one of two athletes connected to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints competing in the same class of women’s weightlifting. Also, one Olympian’s team made it to the quarterfinals in basketball and another’s journey ended in beach volleyball.  

Weightlifting  

Sarah Elizabeth Robles of the United States competes in the women's over-87-kilogram weightlifting event at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.
Sarah Elizabeth Robles of the United States competes in the women’s over-87-kilogram weightlifting event at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Credit: Seth Wenig, Associated Press

Robles won bronze in the over-87-kilogram competition on Monday — the day after her 33rd birthday — and it will go in the U.S. weightlifting record books.  

Her bronze in Tokyo and her bronze in the 2016 Olympics in Rio means she’s the first U.S. woman to win two Olympic weightlifting medals, according to USA Weightlifting. The California native who lives in Houston, Texas, is also the first American to win multiple Olympic weightlifting medals in 57 years, since 1964. Tokyo is her third Olympic Games.  

Weightlifting competitions have two parts. The snatch is when the bar is lifted from the floor to above the lifter’s head in one movement and then standing. In the clean and jerk, the weight is lifted to the chest in the clean, then brings the weight up over their head in the jerk and standing. There are rules for form and time. Each lifter gets three attempts for the snatch and for the clean and jerk. The weight of best lift from each is combined for the lifter’s score.  

In the snatch, Robles’s best lift was 128 kilograms, about 282.2 pounds, and she winked and smiles during that lift. In the clean and jerk, her best lift was 154 kilograms, 339.5 pounds, for a total of 282 kilograms. She cheered, clapped and bowed after her lifts. In her third clean and jerk lift, she attempted 157 kilograms, about 346.13 pounds, which would have put her in second place, but elbow movement disqualified it. 

China’s Wenwen Li won gold with total of 320 kilograms, an Olympic record, and Great Britain’s Emily Campbell won silver with a total of 283.  

Kuinini Juanita Mechteld Manumua of Tonga competes in the women's over-87-kilogram weightlifting event at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.
Kuinini Juanita Mechteld Manumua of Tonga competes in the women’s over-87-kilogram weightlifting event at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Credit: Luca Bruno, Associated Press

Also in the 87-plus kilogram competition was Tonga’s Kuinini “Nini” Manumua, who placed eighth of the 14 competitors.  

In the snatch, the first-time Olympian’s best lift was 103 kilograms, about 227 pounds, and 125 kilograms, about 275.5 pounds, in the clean and jerk, for a total of 228. 

Manumua also made history as the first woman to compete for Tonga in Olympic weightlifting. She was born in America Samoa and her family has lived in her parents’ native Tonga and moved to San Francisco, California, when she was 10.  

Basketball  

Australia's Leilani Mitchell (5) drives around Puerto Rico's Isalys Quinones (25) during a women's basketball game at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Australia’s Leilani Mitchell (5) drives around Puerto Rico’s Isalys Quinones (25) during a women’s basketball game at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) Credit: Eric Gay, Associated Press

With a 95-69 win over Puerto Rico, the Australia Opals head to the quarterfinals in women’s basketball.  

Guard Leilani Mitchell started the game and scored 12 points, including two three-pointers. It’s the second Olympics for the 36-year-old Washington native and WNBA player. 

The 12 basketball teams are in three groups and each plays the other three teams in the group. The top eight teams will move on to the quarterfinals. Australia was 1-2 in Group C play. The Opals tip off against the USA women on Wednesday, Aug. 2, in the elimination tournament with medals for the top three teams.  

Beach volleyball  

Jake Gibb (1), of the United States, returns a shot against Germany during a men's beach volleyball match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.
Jake Gibb (1), of the United States, returns a shot against Germany during a men’s beach volleyball match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Credit: Felipe Dana, Associated Press

Team USA’s Jake Gibb and teammate Trio Bourne lost to German duo Julius Thoel and Clemens Wickler 2-1 (21-17, 15-21 and 11-15) in the round of 16 elimination tournament on Monday, Aug. 2. This loss bumps them out of tournament with Olympic medals for the top three teams.  

Tokyo was the 46-year-old’s fourth Olympics as he aimed for the medal podium.  

Gibb’s original teammate, Taylor Crabb, tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Japan and Bourne was called in to replace Crabb. Gibb noted on social media over the weekend that he was moving into Olympic village after being in quarantine due to protocols for close contact. The Olympics were the first time the duo played together, and they had three practices before their first match.

After the match, Gibb announced his retirement.   

“I’m done,” Gibb said after the match. “I’m going to go home and play some AVP tournaments. I’m going to go coach my kids’ soccer games.” 

Read more of Church News’ coverage of athletes connected to the Church competing in the Olympics

Competing this week  

Australia’s Peter Bol is scheduled to race in the 800-meter finals on Wednesday, Aug. 4. The Australia Opals, including Mitchell, face USA on  

On social  

USA gymnast MyKayala Skinner posted photos from the medals ceremony with the silver in vault around her neck.  

“There have been so many times I’ve wanted to quit the last 2 years and throughout my entire gymnastics career. I don’t think most people know how hard this sport is on your body and mind. I’m grateful I never gave up and that so many of you never gave up on me,” she wrote, adding “unfinished business … FINISHED.”

New Zealand’s Valerie Adams thanked her coach, Dale Stevenson, sharing that “took me on 9 months ago and today we stand together to celebrate this medal” and “We did it.”  

She also shared photos from the medals ceremony with her bronze medal calling it “magical.” 

“Inspired by 2 small humans who have no idea what I do or what this means. I hope they are proud of their mummy,” the five-time Olympian wrote. She won gold in 2008 and 2012 and won silver in 2016 in Rio. Since 2016, she’s had two children. She pulled out a photo of her children as she celebrated after the competition.