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Bertram the first Oregon weightlifter ever to aim Olympics

Making her first appearance at the World Weightlifting Championships, Sarah Bertram, who works and trains at Ironworks Gym in Creswell, placed 16th overall while establishing a new Oregon women’s record for her weight class in the snatch.

After successfully making all three of her snatch attempts during the world championships, Bertram’s lift of 89 kilograms stood as a personal best, as well as a state record.

In the clean & jerk Bertram finished with a mark of 107 kilograms. That was just two kilograms off her personal best of 109 kilograms, set during the Rodger DeGarmo Memorial Invitational in Colorado Springs in August, to guarantee herself a position on the senior world team.

Bertram, 26, had earned a preliminary spot on the team after winning her 69 kilogram weight class during the joint U.S. Nationals/Pam Am Championships, held in Chicago in June.

As one of 15 athletes tapped to represent Team USA during the world championships and the first Oregon weightlifter ever to do so, Bertram was in elite company.

Bertram, who lives in Eugene but has been training for almost nine years with Tom Hirtz at Ironworks Gym and also works at the gym as a personal trainer and assistant manager, was one of eight newcomers to the squad.

Bertram is already focused on her next major goal: earning a spot on the national weightlifting team that will represent the U.S. during the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

“When you do a sport for the Olympics, you’re in for the long haul,” she said. “What really counts is how you do in the Olympic-year qualifier.”

The mental focus and stamina Bertram has developed since she began lifting competitively at age 16 will stand her in good stead as she pursues her ultimate goal of making the USA Olympic weightlifting team.

To make that team, Bertram knows she must remain at the top of her sport while continuing to improve over the next several years.

“I need to do well at the national and world championships every year and stay within the top rankings,” she said.

(By Gini Davis )