By Kevin Farley
For the first time since her debut at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016, Morghan King (USA) returned to South America. This time not as an athlete to compete, but to serve the sport as an Athlete Role Model at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The last time Morghan was in South America, she faced the biggest competition of her life. This time, however, she is feeling more relaxed, without an Olympic competition hanging over her head.
“It is great to be in Argentina and our wonderful hosts in Buenos Aires,” King said. “I am happy to be here without the pressure of an Olympic competition. I am enjoying spending time with the athletes and children of Buenos Aires.”
The IWF and International Olympic Committee selected Morghan to support, advise and inspire the youth athletes taking part in these Youth Olympic Games. She is also serving as an ambassador to the sport, leading demonstrations of Olympic Weightlifting for local children.
“Getting to show this wonderful sport, and getting people involved in a sport for everyone is a major reason why I came to Buenos Aires,” King said.
At each one of her daily sessions, more than 50 children learn the fundamentals of Olympic Weightlifting, from how to hold the bar, to how to snatch and clean & jerk. Participants also learn how Olympic Weightlifting can help them lead stronger, healthier lives.
“Getting the opportunity to working with children and show them that weightlifting is not only a competitive sport, but it can benefit you in many ways, including your mental health is an honor,” King said. “For me, weightlifting is all about body awareness and body positivity, and it is important for me to show the children that this sport can help them in all aspects of their lives.”
For the first time in Olympic history, these Youth Olympic Games have achieved gender equality—equal number of male and female participants. For Morghan’s athlete demonstrations, this equality has been evident, with roughly half the participants being young girls.
“It’s exciting for me to know that I have a reach and that I am able to inspire young girls,” King said. “A lot of the time we tend to put women in feminine sports, I think with weightlifting, we’re starting to get a lot of women that’s awesome for me to be involved in.”
Inspiring athletes of today and tomorrow is central to the mission of the Athlete Role Model program. For Morghan, this means demonstrating Olympic weightlifting and furthering women’s role in the sport.
“They saw that even a small woman can lift big weights, not just big girls or men,” King said. “It was great to show them that this sport welcomes all people of any shapes or sizes.”