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The process that USA Weightlifting will use to select who represents Team USA at Rio 2016 isn't really well known or understood by a lot of people. Listen in as Armen breaks it all down from how a country earn spots to how USAW will be selecting the team. Here's a written guide as well:
Countries can earn spots to the Olympics through their performances from the previous two World Championships, in this case the 2014 and 2015 Worlds. Each countries lifters score points based on where they rank:
US Men's Olympic Team
All participating countries are then ranked after the 2015 Worlds are wrapped and the top countries earn spots depending on where they place. The maximum men's spots a country can earn is 6, and the minimum is 3. The maximum women's spots a country can earn is 4, and the minimum is 2. The US women did really well, placing 14th overall after both Worlds were up and earning 3 spots. The men didn't do so hot and finished in 28th, earning no spots.
This doesn't mean the US can't send any men to the Olympics. Team USA can get three spots if one of the higher ranked countries has their results removed due to doping violations. On top of that, we can still earn one spot through the Pan Ams, which is our Continental Qualifier. USAW will select a team to go to Pan Ams based on their totals compared to the average 1st-25th finish at the 2014 and 2015 Worlds in their weight class, with a maximum of 2 lifters per weight class.
If the US can rank in the top 7 based on the same points system described above, we'll earn one men's spot to the Olympics. The male who scores the most points (ranks the highest) at Pan Ams will be selected to that spot.
US Women's Olympic Team
On the women's side, we have two paths to qualification. One is called "Placement and Scoring" and the other is "Ability to Medal". Placement and Scoring selection has already taken place, with Jenny Arthur earning that spot through her performances at the 2014 and 2015 Worlds. Essentially she did the most to help the US earn its spots to the 2016 Olympics and was rewarded with a spot on the team for her outstanding effort.
The other two spots will be awarded based on Ability to Medal, or ATM. The ATM selection is made on June 20th, 2016 (which is when all the selections are locked in), and is made based of the ranking of all of Team USA's women according to their ability to medal. This ranking is made by comparing each lifter's highest total from either the 2015 Worlds, the 2015 American Open, the 2016 Senior Trials, and the 2016 Olympic Trials with the average 3rd place total in their weight class from the 2011 Worlds, the 2012 Olympics, the 2013 Worlds, the 2014 Worlds, and the 2015 Worlds.
Basically, USAW finds out the average total necessary to get third place in the highest level of competition (Worlds and the Olympics) in each division. Then each athlete is compared to that ATM Standard in their weight class and ranked based on how close their highest total is to that number.
Currently, the top 4 are Sarah Robles, Mattie Rogers, Jenny Arthur, and Morghan King. It's going to be an exciting few months in weightlifting.