Williams wins Olympic weightlifting national title

Caleb Williams has had the dream to compete in the Olympics one day.

At the Olympic Weightlifting National Championships on March 1-4, Williams took a step toward that goal.

The Buford resident set a new all-time American record in the clean and jerk at Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio. Along with his personal record in the snatch, he was also able to set the American record for total weight lifted.

"Breaking the clean and jerk was good. I've been knocking on that door for a couple of years," Williams said. "I knew if I had a good snatch, I'd have a chance to break the total record."

Williams, who competed for Peak Performance of Georgia Weightlifting, set a personal record in the snatch with 282 pounds. In his second attempt in the clean and jerk, Williams set the all-time American record with 366 pounds. He broke the old record of 358.6 pounds.

Williams' total weight in the snatch and clean and jerk set the American record for his 152-pound weight class.

"It was a good feeling," he said. "I competed in powerlifting for 12 years and had all kinds of records. This is the first American record to break."

As a former powerlifter in the squat, bench and deadlift, Williams set 17 American records. He was a two-time IPF World Champion, won nine national titles and held a No. 1 world ranking. His best lifts include a 722-pound squat, 474-pound bench and 600-pound deadlift.

Williams, 27, is one of two lifters to currently hold American records in weightlifting and powerlifting. The other is two-time Olympian Shane Hamman.

With American records in his pocket, a possible Olympic berth is next for the Pittsburgh native.

Williams hopes to get an invitation the Pan Am Games this spring. As the No. 4-ranked Olympic weightlifter in the nation in all weight classes, he would compete for the U.S.'s only available spot in the Olympics.

"It depends on how long my body lasts," Williams said.