NewsJourdan Delacruz

After Tokyo, Weightlifter Jourdan Delacruz Has Reset And Is Ready For Worlds

by Joanne C. Gerstner

Jourdan Delacruz competes during the women's 49 kg. competition at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 24, 2021 in Tokyo.


Jourdan Delacruz sees the next two years as a thoughtful journey.
There is a clear destination for the weightlifter: a return trip to the Olympic Games in two years in Paris. But this time around, she wants to take a different path to find success.
Her first Olympic competition last year in Tokyo ended with disappointment as she was unable to execute any of her clean & jerk attempts. She was third in the snatch and had a strong position to possibly medal. But it was not to be, and her Olympic experience ended in unexpected pain. Not only did she fall short of the podium, she ended up not even earning a placement. Instead, the letters “DNF” reside by her name in the record books.
After the Games, Delacruz went back to her home base in Atlanta, took some time off in the latter half of 2021 and processed the experience.
It was time to reset, try to purge the disappointment and plan the way forward.
Now she’s headed to the 2022 IWF World Championships on Dec. 5-16 in Bogota, Colombia, and feels she has put her head, heart and body in the right places to succeed. The competition is important for Delacruz, but also for all of the U.S. athletes. In addition to competing for world titles, this is the first of seven events where they can accumulate qualifying points toward the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
“This year has been pretty much about getting back into an Olympics mode after everything last year,” Delacruz, 24, said. “I finally feel my body, and all the other aspects, are in the right spaces en route to building for this next quad. I’m going to worlds just wanting to showcase what I can do. 
“It’s about finding the joy and happiness in the hard work. The reality is, you may not always be rewarded or have the ability to do what you want to do. I’m more in tune with those realities now, after a lot of hard work. I’m really happy right now.”
Delacruz is one of the world’s top competitors at 49 kg. And the 2022 world championships will be her first global competition since the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Jourdan Delacruz competes during the women's 49 kg. competition at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 24, 2021 in Tokyo.


The Tokyo experience was abnormal in many ways, muted due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. In the end the realities didn’t match her expectations, both in terms of her performance but also the overall Olympic experience.
“I didn’t get to walk in the Opening Ceremonies, then things were bad when I competed, I had to leave like 12-13 hours later after I was done to go home — it didn’t feel like the Olympics would feel in my mind,” she said. “I wanted to be part of all the special things, and they weren’t there because of COVID. So I had a degree of disappointment with all of that. My dream of being on Team USA came true, I checked off that box, but then, nothing was like it was supposed to be in my mind.”
Delacruz, who is originally from Wylie, Texas, has already achieved her share of international success, including winning the Pan American Championships with an American record just months before the Olympics. In retrospect, she says she might have gone into Tokyo “a little distracted by chasing medals.”
“That wasn’t healthy,” she said. “Now I want this to be about the purpose of doing my best. I want to focus, do my best, and that’s all you really can do. Things will all fall into place. I am more at peace thinking that way.”
She views this reset as a mind-body experience. She’s been working with sports psychologists to process everything and discovered the unpacking/clarifying to be healing. Her physical body also is getting the care it needs by training more efficiently and taking the proper recovery time. She is also a college student, majoring in dietetics online through the University of Northern Colorado. 
Those elements were present before Tokyo, but now have been reinforced and reframed to work even better for Delacruz.
“I’ve truly learned the value of taking the time to recover, it’s so important,” she said. “I want to be patient and gracious with my body. This is my life, and I love the challenges. I am coming into every competition wanting to do my very best. 
“It’s sometimes hard to admit where you are, if you are not in the best shape mentally or physically. So I’ve done all that reflecting, it’s good reflecting. I do my best, I train hard and I look at how I am caring for myself in all ways. The success will come if you are doing the right things for the right reasons.”

Joanne C. Gerstner has covered two Olympic Games and writes about sports regularly for the New York Times and other outlets. She has written for since 2009 as a freelance contributor on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.