Event: Women's 59kg
Olympic History: Olympic debutant
Highlights: First women to clean and jerk double her bodyweight
Club: Cougars weightlifting club
Year Born: 1987
State Born: NT
Erika Yamasaki's weightlifting career started rather innocuously as a teenager, where she was identified through a school based talent program as an athlete with encouraging potential.
Yamasaki’s brother John was also discovered that day, who the younger Erika credits as her inspiration to begin weightlifting competitively. Similarly to Erika, John represented Australia on the international stage and served as a role-model for his sister to follow.
Over two decades since being identified as a weightlifting talent, Yamasaki is poised for her maiden Olympic campaign.
Yamasaki’s place on the global weightlifting circuit was etched in 2006, when she took out bronze at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, at the age of 18.
From her initial Commonwealth Games success, Yamasaki narrowly missed the podium at both the 2010 and 2014 iterations of the competition. The 33-year-old claimed gold at both the 2015 and 2019 Pacific Games, earning the honour of being the Australian flagbearer.
Most recently, Yamasaki finished 23rd at the 2019 World Championships with a Snatch lift of 80kg and a Clean & Jerk of 106kg.
Accompanying Yamasaki to the Japanese capital will be long-time coach Angela Wydall, who has been Erika's key supporter through prior qualification tournaments and major competitions.
Yamasaki will make her Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2021 Games in the women's 59kg weightlifting event.