The U.S. Olympic women's weightlifting trials take place in Columbus, Ohio, this weekend. There, 15 women will compete for two available Olympic berths. The most recognizable name at the trials is known for her winter sports prowess. Newly crowned skeleton world champion Katie Uhlaender (58kg), a 2006 and 2010 Olympian, is ranked 15th out of the 15-woman field. Her chances of securing a 2012 Olympic spot are slim, but she's riding a wave of confidence from last week's championship in Lake Placid, N.Y. It will be the fourth weightlifting competition of her life, according to USA Today .
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Robles (75kg ) is a more seasoned lifter, though she is a converted shot put and discus thrower. The 2011 national champion is the top-ranked U.S. woman across all weight classes, but she'll be going up against the Nos. 2 and 5 overall women in the heaviest division. Robles was the top U.S. finisher -- male or female -- at the 2011 world championships, taking 11th.
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Mangold, the sister of Jets center Nick, is the second-ranked overall lifter who will challenge Robles at 75kg . She gained notoriety for playing high school football (as seen training in this 2007 photo) and appearing on MTV's "True Life" in 2011. Mangold, 22, still lives in trains and Columbus.
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Burgener went by Natalie Woolfolk when she took 12th at the 2008 Olympics. Since, she married another weightlifter, Casey Burgener. She's seen in this photo with International Olympic Committee President Dr. Jacques Rogge (brown coat) at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Burgener (63kg) had hip surgery in May and returned to competition in December. She's ranked sixth out of the 15 women competing but is the only returning Olympian.
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Rue (69kg) is a full-time lawyer (Harvard grad) and a seven-time national champion. She matched the best finish (fifth) by a U.S. woman at the 2011 Pan American Games. Rue is ranked No. 8 overall but is No. 1 in her weight class. No U.S. woman has won an Olympic weightlifting medal since 2000, the first Olympics that included female weightlifters.
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The U.S. men have not yet earned any Olympic spots but will still hold national championships in Columbus. It's possible only one man will represent USA Weightlifting in London when the qualification process is all said and done. It appears three bronze medalists from the 2011 Pan American Games are in the running for that solitary berth. Vaughn won bronze at 77kg at Pan Ams and was the top U.S. man at the 2011 world championships, placing 16th. Vaughn is a seven-time national champion and two-time Olympian.
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Farris placed 19th at the Beijing Olympics and 19th at the 2011 world championships at 85kg, the only U.S. man to finish in the top 20 at both events. He also set an American record in the clean and jerk on his way to the 2010 Pan American championship.
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The third U.S. bronze medalist at the Pan Am Games, Shankle also took 22nd at the 2011 world championships. No U.S. man has won an Olympic weightlifting medal since the 1984 Games.
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