In what could be a stepping stone for a chance at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, local weightlifter James Fox earned a silver medal Monday at the 2012 Junior Olympics in Houston.
It was Fox’s third trip to the AAU Junior Olympics. He went in 2010 to Virginia, where he barely missed the bronze after finishing fourth.
Last year, Fox went to New Orleans, where he earned the bronze in his second Junior Olympic games.
This year, Fox stepped on the stage to compete as a member of Team Savannah in the boys’ 18-19 age class and 85-kilogram weight class.
Fox said it was a tough category, in which he was pitted against expected gold contender Samuel Stewart from Team Lift Florida. Fox also was competing against another strong lifter, Will Anglin from Team LSUS.
Stewart had the better lift in the snatch by clearing 115 kilos. Fox snatched 103 and Anglin cleared 92. But Fox said Stewart sustained a slight injury during clean-and-jerk routines and was unable to finish his last lift. That meant the battle was wide open, and Fox cleared 107 kilos in the first two attempts. Fox cleared 113 kilos in his final attempt for a total score of 207. Anglin cleared 126 kilos in his final attempt to take the gold with a score of 212.
Fox said the whole experience has left him wanting more.
“It feels good, but I feel like I’ve could have done better,” he said, adding that as soon as he gets back home he is going right back to work. “I feel like my training is going to get me there. I think I have the potential to win gold next year.”
Fox will admit he is tough on himself when it comes to competitions. It’s because of this focus and drive that his mother Kathryn Fox said he will keep pushing himself to do better and lift harder.
He started weightlifting only two years ago. Fox earned his first medal at a national competition after clearing 81 kilos in the clean and jerk and 63 kilos in the snatch at the 2010 Georgia Games in Atlanta.
Just before the Junior Olympics began, Fox was ranked 10th in the nation by USA Weightlifting. There already is talk that Fox could make Team USA and vie for a spot on the 2016 Olympic team.
“That is the goal,” he said. “I want to be able to make the USA team and go all over the world and compete for my country and earn an Olympic medal. There are certain things that, when we get back to the gym, we are going to fix.”
Team Savannah placed second overall. Fox thinks they could have done better had they a bigger contingency of lifters competing.
“We didn’t have that many guys,” he said. “We had 16 guys at the most, and the team that got first place had 36. We only lost by a few points. I think we did really well as a team.”
When Fox is not competing in meets, he stays in shape by competing in national Strongman events.
On July 7, Fox and Long County competitor and friend Nick Stock went to the 2012 Teen National Strongman event held in Atlantic City.
Stock placed third, while Fox placed fourth. They qualified for the Atlantic City meet when they finished first and second, respectively, at the Florida National Strongman, held February in Tampa.