Published Tuesday 29 July 2014

Auckland weightlifter Richie Patterson kicked off the biggest week of his life by winning the 85kg gold medal today.

The good times keep getting better for Patterson who will marry fellow New Zealand team member Phillipa Hale in Scotland in a few days’ time.

“Everything’s going to plan so far,” he said. “I didn’t want to get too far ahead of myself. I was here to win the gold medal first.”

In truth, Patterson was clearly the best lifter in the field, but things got dicey when he missed his first two clean and jerk attempts, meaning his fate hinged on his final lift.

In the snatch he got 147kg and 151kg, but missed at 154kg. He held off entering the clean and jerk until his major rivals were finished.

Patterson chose 184kg, a weight he said he could lift any day of the week back home.

“The first jerk was out in front and on the second lift I had a slight elbow press out. The second one could have been given on another day, but they ruled it out.”

It came down to his final lift. As the weightlifting announcer dramatically said: if he got it he’d go home a gold medallist, if he missed he’d go home with nothing.

“I told myself to calm down and cleared my head. The third lift wasn’t perfect, but it did the job.”

Patterson totalled 335kg, which gave him a 2kg margin over Indian Vikas Thakur. 

The popular Aucklander is immersed in his sport. He owns a gym, competes at the highest level and coaches. Encouraged by his result in Glasgow, he said he hoped to carry on until the next Commonwealth Games, on the Gold Coast in 2018.