With a 270-pound weight latched around her neck, Mahassen Hala Fattouh Paiva took a deep breath. After some final words of encouragement, she raised it skyward and dashed into her coaches’ arms. The Beaufort County resident and Lebanon’s first-ever female Olympic weightlifter just pulled off something extraordinary.
A bronze medal was potentially in CJ Cummings’ grasp as he walked back to the stage for his final lift Wednesday in Tokyo. But this time, it wasn’t meant to be. The opening act in his Olympic career may have ended in disappointment, but his time in the spotlight is just getting started.
When we first heard CJ Cummings’ name nearly 10 years ago, we knew that one day he had the potential to become an American hero. Now, his moment has arrived. In just a few days, the hometown kid from Beaufort will take his shot at Olympic stardom and U.S. weighlifting immortality. But his career and his incredible journey to the global stage in Tokyo almost never happened.
The Lowco was well-represented during the USA Weightlifting National Championship this week in Detroit, as Team Beaufort Weightlifting members CJ Cummings, Marr-Khie Desvarieux, Ian Graham and Dade Stanley took home medals in their respective weight classes. Cummings claimed his first senior National Championship while Stanley won the Junior National Championship.
With the launch of a new podcast this month, as well as two state championship football games to plan coverage for, a slew of college signings, and preparations underway for basketball season, it took a little longer than usual to gather my thoughts this week.