Weightlifting can be broken down into different levels or standards. Based on your current abilities, you can qualify for Olympic Weightlifting at local, national, and international competition. All lifters begin competition at the local level when competing at sanctioned events. Local level lifting includes athletes from beginners to intermediate levels and, on occasion, elite level lifters seeking qualification for national level events. USA Weightlifting has introduced different levels of national competition which we'll get to but first let's begin with who qualifies for local level lifting...
All levels and ages of lifters are welcome at local competition. This includes brand new lifters, intermediate level lifters, senior elite lifters, youth, and masters athletes. Here, you can compete in your designated weight class against other lifters of your same age class and male/female designation. There is no minimum or maximum ability designation so anyone can AND SHOULD try it out! It's a great way to get a taste for the sport and get connected with the local Weightlifting community.
Athletes competing at the national level are classified according to their age, male/female designation, and weight class. Here, you have to qualify for competition based on setting a recorded total for the minimum required for each competition. Each National competition is listed from easiest to most difficult to qualify for based on Entry Totals.
Senior Competition (Ages 15+)
1. 2019 American Open Series
2. 2019 National University & Under 25 Championships (Ages 15-25)
3. 2019 American Open Finals
4. 2019 National Championships
Youth National Competition (17 years old and under)
1. 2019 San Diego Open
2. 2019 National Youth Championships
Junior National Competition (Ages 15-20)
1. National Junior Championships
Masters National Competition (Ages 35+)
1. American Open Series
2. Masters World Cup
3. IWF Masters Worlds
1. Olympic Qualification System
The qualification procedure for the Olympics has changed as of 2018. In short, the qualification requires achieved ROBI points at international competition, lifting in 6 approved competitions, and participating in specific graded events through qualifying international competition. To learn specifics of the procedures, Weightlifting House has a great article: https://www.weightliftinghouse.com/2019/02/22/tokyo-2020-qualifying-guide/
2. International Events
Qualifying for international competition means that you'll have to compete on the National stage and be ranked high enough to make our USA Team. To do this, you need to be a US Citizen, have a valid US Passport, be within the USADA testing pool for at least 6 months, be the correct age for the competition, comply with all of the requirements for the designated governing body, go through the USAW background check, reach a minimum of 81% of the Bronze medal in the bodyweight category of the previous IWF World Championship in their age group, be a current member of USAW and in good standing, and make a total for qualifying competition. Then the top ten athletes with the highest ROBI score are named to Team USA - with a maximum of 2 athletes per weight class.