Lassen nears spot on Olympic team

One more strong performance from Whitehorse weightlifter Jeane Lassen and she could be heading to her second Summer Olympic Games.

One more strong performance from Whitehorse weightlifter Jeane Lassen and she could be heading to her second Summer Olympic Games.

The 31-year-old made it one step closer to making Canada’s Olympic team by winning gold at the Western Canadian Weightlifting Championships in Edmonton two weeks ago.

At the championships, Lassen lifted 101 kilograms in the snatch and 126 in the clean and jerk in the women’s 75-kilogram division.

“I did a lot better than in 2011,” said Lassen. “I tried heavier but I missed my last attempt in the snatch and in the clean and jerk, but it was a good fight so I’m pretty happy with my efforts.”

Positions on the Canadian team are determined by each weightlifter’s best two results in specific competitions, including the World Weightlifting Championships last November, the Westerns a couple weeks ago and the Canadian Senior Championships at the start of June.

Lassen is currently sitting in the third and final spot in the women’s side of the Canadian team.

“I’m in the third spot right now, but it will be anybody’s game for that third spot,” said Lassen. “In the first two spots, the girls are pretty far ahead of everyone else and it would be hard for anyone to surpass them.

“It’s going to be quite a fight at nationals for that third spot.”

The final showdown for the final position on the team will be the Canadian Senior Championships in La Prairie, Que. in June.

“I enjoy competing, so pressure is a privilege, as they say,” said Lassen. “I’m just happy to have a chance to be part of it again – to be at my age and still be able to compete. I’m older than all the other girls, so it’s cool just to be in the game.

“The next closest competitor to my age is five years younger than me.”

Lassen retired from weightlifting in 2009 and returned to the sport about a year ago. With just three weeks of preparation, Lassen won silver at the Westerns last May. At the competition she lifted 85 in the snatch and 107 in the clean and jerk.

“It was really cool to see how much changes in one year of training,” said Lassen, comparing this year’s weights to last year’s.

She then earned her spot back on the national team and entry to the Worlds with a first-place finish at the Blue Mountain Open in Collingwood, Ont., in August.

At the World Weightlifting Championships, held last November in Paris, Lassen lifted 97 kilograms in the snatch and 123 in the clean and jerk to finish 15th in her weight class. Her finish was a tie for the second highest of any Canadian at the event.

Two weeks later, she won gold at the Alberta Weightlifting Championships in Edmonton.

If Lassen makes Canada’s Olympic team, it will be her second Games, having competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics where she finished eighth.

“I’m feeling good. I’m really glad that I started back,” said Lassen. “Even if I don’t end up going back to the Olympics, I’m just glad I’m in the game instead of sitting at home on my couch thinking, ‘I could have been doing that.’”

Watson Lake cyclist Zach Bell, who also competed at the 2008 Olympic Games, is on track for his second Olympics. Barring an injury or illness, Bell will be representing Canada at the London Games in the men’s omnium track event. The 29-year-old secured Canada a spot in the event with a silver at the 2012 UCI Track World Championships a week ago in Melbourne, Australia.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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