Lassen snatches silver at national championships

Despite a short training period and only one other competition in two years, Whitehorse weightlifter Jeane Lassen won silver at the 2011 Canadian Senior Weightlifting Championships in Scarborough, Ontario, on Sunday.

Despite a short training period and only one other competition in two years, Whitehorse weightlifter Jeane Lassen won silver at the 2011 Canadian Senior Weightlifting Championships in Scarborough, Ontario, on Sunday.

The 30-year-old former Olympian, who only came out of retirement a couple months ago, took second in the women’s 75-kilogram division, lifting a combined 202 kilograms.

“I was real close to getting gold, but it didn’t work out,” said Lassen. “But I had a good time and really gave it my all, so it was all around a good competition.

“It was different in that I came in with a different attitude. I’ve been working a lot and training as much as I can, but I was more doing it for fun and the excitement of competing. I didn’t think too much about the number on the bar, just lifting the most I could and not getting obsessed about every kilo.”

In the snatch portion of the competition, Lassen opened with an 86-kilo lift “quite easily,” then lifted 90 before missing on an attempt of 95.

“I almost had it; I had it over my head for a split second,” said Lassen. “I tried to get low under the bar by twisting my knee kind of funny and kind of tweaked it.”

For the clean and jerk, she lifted 112 kilos to open, then tried 120 for the gold.

“I cleaned it, but missed the jerk,” said Lassen.

Her third lift, again for the 120 and the win, turned into a bit of a fiasco.

A competitor who was supposed to lift before Lassen changed the weight she was going to attempt, fast-tracking Lassen back to the platform, giving her only one minute’s rest between lifts instead of two.

“I basically had to get a sip of water and run out there,” said Lassen. “When I got to the platform there was like 15 seconds left on the clock to do my lift. It was rushed, but I actually did a really nice clean. But the same knee that went out on me in the snatch went out on my in the clean and jerk and drove it into the platform. The weight was over my head and my back knee went into the platform.

“It was really close.”

Had she made the lift, not only would Lassen have won gold, she would have regained a spot back on the national team.

“It would have been premature if I got back on,” said Lassen. “It would have been a bonus, but I feel I have a lot more training to do.”

Though not on the national team, Lassen will have another chance to get on, and travel to the world championships, with a qualifier event in August.

“I just have to go up a couple of kilos and I’m on the national team,” said Lassen, whose personal bests are 110 in snatch and 138 in clean and jerk.

After retiring from competitive weightlifting in 2009, Lassen returned to the sport in March after being inspired by the spirit of competition she felt as a mission staffer for the Yukon girls’ hockey team at the Canada Winter Games in February.

In her first competition back, Lassen won silver in the women’s 75-kilogram division of the Western Canadian Championship in Richmond, BC, on March 26, lifting 85 kilos in the snatch and 107 in the clean and jerk.

Having started lifting competitively in 1995, Lassen’s list of accomplishments is a lengthy one. Along with an eighth-place finish in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, she has won gold and set a record at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, won bronze at the Pan American Games, won three silvers at the Junior World Championships, and has medaled at the University World Games a jaw-dropping 19 times. She also holds nine Canadian records, including three junior and six senior.

“It was cool to see I could lift competitive weights while having fun and without a whole lot of hours in the gym,” said Lassen. “It motivates me to see what is possible if I train smarter this time.

“I’m just starting back. Instead of being like, ‘I’m only doing this weight and I used to do this much,’ I was just thinking, ‘I can do this, I got this.’”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com