Australia’s Charisma Amoe-Tarrant pumped her arms, thanked the crowd, and pointed to the sky to as she secured a bronze medal in the women’s 87+ kilogram category at the Commonwealth Games.
“That’s for my mum, and also my uncle who passed away from cancer, and I know he was also very supportive of my lifting, like my mum,” she said.
“All the lifting is for them.”
Amoe-Tarrant was born in Nauru and lived there until she was 12 years of age.
Her mother died of kidney problems in 2009, so she and her siblings were adopted by their grandparents, who brought them to Australia.
Four years ago, Amoe-Tarrant won a silver medal for her country of birth, and now the 23-year-old has one as an Australian.
“I’m representing both countries and I’m proud to be Australian and I’m also proud to be a Nauruan at the end of the day, so no one can take that away from me,” she said.
Amoe-Tarrant says she felt a lot of pressure coming into the Games and carried knee and elbow injuries into the competition.
Spurred on by a rapturous crowd, Amoe-Tarrant summoned everything she had to produce a clean and jerk that secured the bronze medal by 1kg.
“The crowd at the last Games was good. Here it’s just amazing,” she said.
“They were really the ones that helped me get that second lift [to clinch a medal].”
England’s Emily Campbell lives up to expectations to win gold
Being the “face” of an Olympics or Commonwealth Games in your home country can be a blessing or a burden for many athletes.
Cathy Freeman is the most enduring Australian example from Sydney 2000 and, in Birmingham 2022, the mantle has fallen to England’s co-flagbearer Emily Campbell.
And, just like Freeman, she created her own magic moment in history.
Campbell became the first female British weightlifter to win an Olympic medal, with silver in the 87+kg category in Tokyo last year.
In Birmingham, she was clearly a cut above the rest, lifting a Games record 286kg across the snatch and the clean and jerk to win gold.
Campbell took off her belt and whipped it around her head in elation, as the home fans let loose in celebration.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a crowd that immense and so reactive. It was sensational. They were enjoying every minute and embracing every athlete,” she said.
“Some will say it’s a perfect Games, to walk out for that kind of opening ceremony was immense for starters, to lead out the home nation at a home Games.
“It’s a very special privilege and something I’ll remember forever.”
Since Tokyo, Campbell has made sure to use her growing profile and platform to send important messages.
Competing in the heaviest category for women, she is passionate about body positivity.
“I want people to see that it doesn’t matter what shape [or] size you are, you can do whatever makes you happy,” she said.
“I’ve been out there and had to put on body weight for this, but it’s made me the champion that I am today because it means my body’s functional and it’s strong.
“And that’s just proving to everybody I’m still healthy, but I don’t look like everybody else.”
Campbell has also spoken out about racism, and is proud of her Jamaican heritage. Her sister, Kelsie Campbell, even competed for Jamaica at Birmingham in the swimming.
“My dad is one of the reasons why I am where I am today. He came from Jamaica with not much. He grafted his heart [out] to have everything to give me my sister,” she said.
There was weightlifting royalty in the crowd, too, to cheer Campbell on.
Four-time Commonwealth champion — and the first English weightlifter to carry the flag at the Games — Precious McKenzie, now 86, watched on.
“His words to me before I came out today were, ‘Everyone’s expecting you to win. Go out and win.’ I couldn’t ask for better advice — just go and get the job done,” Campbell said.
“He’s done so much for weightlifting and he’s here still, giving back to the sport at 86 years [of age]. I hope I can keep giving back to the sport as well.”