Colombian weightlifter Mercedes Isabel Perez won the gold medal Wednesday in the women’s 152 pound division at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Perez lifted a combined total of 511 pounds; 222 in the snatch and 289 in the clean-and-jerk on her way to the gold.
She broke the previous Pan American games record of 287 pounds in the clean-and-jerk, which was previously set by fellow Colombian, Angela Medina in 2003.
Perez came to lift 298 pounds in her last attempt, but the judges overturned her score for doing it in two movements.
Frustrated over her last attempt, Perez said, “As we near Mundial [of Paris], judges are being very demanding with all the moves.”
Upon receiving the gold medal, the Colombian weightlifter began began to cry.
“I cried because because I’ve never been to any Pan American Games. I couldn’t go four years ago because of administrative problems,” she remarked. “Having this medal is nice, especially because I have suffered so much, and because it’s something beautiful that I dedicate to Colombia.”
Perez’s victory brings Colombia its 12th gold medal of the 2011 Pan American Games.