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Weightlifters in love

By Brett Alles and Dan Weaver
Posted Friday, July 18, 2008 6:30 PM ET
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COLORADO SPRINGS - Was it love at first lift? Gold in Beijing may not be the only gold waiting for two unique Olympians who live in Colorado Springs.

63kg Natalie Woolfolk and Super-heavyweight Casey Burgener are weightlifters who love their sport. They also happen to love each other and are the only engaged couple on the USA Weightlifting team going to the 2008 Summer Games.

Casey's dad was Natalie's coach. He told her she was the girl that would marry his son. She didn't believe it.

"And then I met him and he's pretty cute," said Natalie.

"As for engaged couples representing the U.S., for the Olympics, we're the only ones," said Burgener.

You can usually find the two working out in the weightlifting room in Colorado Springs, where they are both resident athletes.

At first, they weren't sure if they would both make it to Beijing. Natalie won her spot on the team at the trials in Atlanta. Casey, however, was struggling.


"I was psychotic watching him," Natalie said. "He knew what he had to do, and he was the last lifter, so he put it on the bar and he had to scare us all, he missed it the first time and made everybody kind of freak out."

The pressure was mounting for Casey to make the team.

"The timing was all off. I'd been waiting I think close to 10 minutes and it was a big jump for me, so when I missed it, it was just some minor things," he said. "But once I felt the weight I knew I was going to get it."

"He did it and I freaked out," Natalie said. "It was awesome. It was beyond cool. I was extremely excited because I was going and he was going."

They've traveled together before.

After the 2007 World Championships in Thailand about 10 months ago, Casey talked Natalie into taking an even longer journey.

"We're going through the jungle," Natalie recalled. "And the guy that was driving, I guess, the elephant (we were on), he hops off. I was like freaking out, I didn't know what was going on because he was off the elephant and Casey starts saying how much he loves me. And I'm like I don't know what you're talking about right now because I was completely distracted. Anyways, and then he proposed to me and I got it."

The couple is planning a November wedding at Casey's home in California.



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