Landrum’s Kim Raber is an elite Olympic weightlifter

Published 3:36 pm Monday, March 27, 2017

Kimberly Raber wears a near-constant smile. She’s earned it.

That positive attitude has helped the Landrum High School junior become the top (age) 17 and under, 48-kilogram (about 106 pounds) Olympic weightlifter in the U.S. 

Landrum High’s super-achieving Olympic weightlifter Kimberly Raber is shown with her coach, LHS’s Chad Cooksey.

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Last July, Raber was invited to train under U.S. Olympic coaches at the Olympic training center in Colorado.

“She was with the top 20 and under women in the country,” said her coach at Landrum, Chad Cooksey. “It was a selective camp.”

Though Raber narrowly missed qualifying for the international team, competing at the recent Junior Nationals, Cooksey pointed out that U.S.A. Weightlifting pays Raber a stipend for her training and competition.

USAW officials must see a future in Raber.

“I hope so,” she replied.

What is her next goal?

“Train for my next meet,” she replied. That will be this June at the Youth Nationals in Atlanta.

Cooksey explained that Team Landrum is the barbell club certified through U.S.A. Weightlifting. Last year, Cooksey took seven Team Landrum members to the Youth Nationals in Houston. Team Landrum is growing. This June, Cooksey hopes to take 15 members to the Youth Nationals.

“We have a lot of high school athletes,” he emphasized. The numbers are bolstered by a steady influx of younger lifters, with age 12 and under enthusiasts training on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“We love to get all we can from this area. Every year, the meets get harder. Winning gets harder. Kim is kind of our ambassador.”

“I’m glad I found weightlifting,” Raber noted. Perhaps weightlifting found her. She discovered the challenge when she used weightlifting to prepare for running track.

“I found that I enjoyed it (lifting) more than I did track,” she said.