Outstanding Gayle Hatch Weightlifters

Bret Brian is Louisiana’s most decorated weightlifter. He was a member of both the 1988 and 1992 U.S. Olympic Teams.  Brian was also three-time National Champion, American Open Champion, U. S. Olympic Festival Champion, Pan America Medalist and World Team member.  He won the USA Outstanding Lifter Award at the 1990Goodwill Games and was the USAW Athlete of the Year and he was nominated for the Sullivan Award.  This photo shows Brian at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain with Coach Hatch in the coaching box. 

Tommy Calandro, a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team. Calandro was the first native Baton Rougean to be named to an Olympic Team in any sport. He was a two-time National Champion, American Open Champion, Pan Am Medalist and World Team member. Tommy was U.S. Olympic Festival Champion in 1985 and carried the torch into LSU Tiger Stadium before a crowd of 75,000 for the opening ceremonies of the festival. He went on to win Baton Rouge's only gold medal in the games. This photo shows Tommy's 150 kg snatch on the way to winning the 90 kg class at the 1987 U. S. W. F. National Championships.

 Matt Bruce, is one of Gayle Hatch’s most successful pupils as an Olympic weightlifter. Bruce made seven World Teams, four Senior World Teams and thee Junior World Teams. He also made two Olympic Squads and won both National and American Open Championships.

Blair Lobrano,  American Open Champion and a four-time member of the Junior World Team. He was the first American to beat a weightlifter from the Soviet Union or former Soviet Union in twenty-five years. Blair was a five-time National Junior Champion and set numerous Junior American records. For an animated sequence showing Blair performing a snatch, click here.   Blair Lobrano, 200 kg clean & jerk at the 2000 Olympic Trials.

Walter Imahara, many times World Masters Champion, holder of many World Masters Records, and Chairman of the International Weightlifting Federation Masters Committee. This photo shows his Masters World Record 90-kg snatch (55-59 age group, 64-kg class) at the 1994 World Masters Championships in Perth, Australia.

Chuck Meole, many times World Masters Champion.

Buster Bourgeois: This photo shows Buster as American Open Champion. This photo shows Buster as a three time World Team member and a five time National Junior Champion.  Buster set numerous Junior American records.

Brandon Baker: A three-time Junior World Team member. Brandon set a number of Junior American records and was a top prospect for the 1996 Olympic Team when he was severely injured in an accident which ended his hopes of making the team.

Joey Ventrella, 1998 American Open Champion.

Samantha Zimmerman, 2012 American Open Champion.

Other outstanding Hatch lifters making U.S. International Squads include: Dean Simpson, Ross DeNicola, Paul Henriksen, Jason Stanly, Johnny Conner, Tom Waguespack, George Lobrano, Jason Coffey, Wade Sparks, Johnny Meliet, Mike Wise.

Masters Lifters: Outstanding Masters lifters include Walter Imahara and Chuck Meole. Both have won numerous World Masters Weightlifting Championships and have set a number of World Masters records. Walter Imahara put together one of the finest Masters performances ever at the 1997 World Masters Weightlifting Championships. Lifting in the 60-64 age group, 64-kg class, his six-for-six sequence included World Masters records of 90 kg in the snatch, 105 kg in the clean and jerk, and 195 kg in the total. His performance earned him the award of Best Lifter in his age group.


Peggy Hatch: Peggy has served as secretary to the U.S.A.W. Southern Local Weightlifting Committee for more than twenty-five years. She has worked the scorer table from local competitions to World Championships. Her duties for the Hatch Team have been many, including Team Manager and Statistician. Her contributions to the success of the Gayle Hatch program can not be overstated.

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