Jackie Blazek of Golden Valley, Minn., was set to become a gymnast like her parents. However she switched to Olympic weightlifting after using weights to train for gymnastics.
Blazek, 4 feet 7 and 74 pounds, began training for gymnastics at 3. But her father, Gary, who became interested in Olympic weightlifting to enhance his gymnastics career, quickly realized she had the talent to excel as a weightlifter.
The youngest female weightlifter scheduled to compete at the Festival, Blazek, 12, was named the outstanding female lifter at the 1991 National Junior Weightlifting championships last April. Lifting in the flyweight class, Blazek snatched 35 kilos (77 pounds) and cleaned-and-jerked 47.5 kilos (104 3/4 pounds) for a total of 82.5 kilos (181 3/4 pounds) to finish second behind Cassie Clark, 13, of Tybee Island, Ga.
Clark, who snatched 40 kilos (88 pounds) and cleaned-and-jerked 52.5 kilos (115 3/4 pounds) for a total of 92.5 (203 3/4 pounds), outweighed Blazek by 23 pounds.