BEIJING (AP) - Even though Natalie Woolfolk missed a U.S. weightlifting record, she jumped with joy after making her final Olympic lift and pointed with both hands to a burly man in the stands.
"I was lifting for Casey Burgener, man," Woolfolk said, after heaving a total of 211 kilogram (465.2 pound) Tuesday in the women's 63-kg division.
Woolfolk and Burgener, who are getting married in November, are both among the best weightlifters in the United States. Burgener, however, was dropped from the Olympics at the last minute because the U.S. team didn't get the third men's slot it had hoped for.
For Woolfolk, that meant she was lifting for both of them. After missing an attempt at the U.S. record in the snatch, she got herself pumped up for her final clean and jerk listening to Michael Jackson's "Don't stop till you get enough."
"I was just thinking to myself, this is the last lift, girl. You do this," she said. "Just nail it and be happy with yourself afterwards."
And nail it she did, letting out a delightful shout as she pushed 114 kg (251.3 pounds) over her head. That was enough for a fourth place in the B-competition - the top lifters in the weight class were competing later Tuesday.
"I get really nervous before a competition, but I tell you watching her I could barely sit still," Burgener said after embracing his fiancee. "It was a different feeling being in the stands but she did incredible and we're all so proud of her. It's the best competition she's had since, I can't even remember when."
Carissa Gump also tried to set a new U.S. record, going for 114 kg (251.3 pounds) in her last clean and jerk, in which the bar is raised to shoulder level before being pushed overhead.
Gump rose well from a squat but couldn't push the bar up high enough. She choked back tears as she walked off the platform, finishing the B-competition in sixth place with a total of 204 kg (449.7 pounds).
"I'm disappointed with how I did. The last lift was an American record lift. That's probably the biggest disappointment because I've done it in the gym," she said.
Chad Vaughn is the next U.S. weightlifter to compete in Beijing, on Wednesday in the men's 77-kg division.
From tears to cheers, Olympic weightlifting has offered drama and agony of Herculean proportions, diverting attention from the doping scandals that have left the sport's reputation in tatters.