Sacramento teen weightlifter has her eyes on Olympics

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- She may be small in stature, but 15-year-old Candace Ricci packs a powerful set of muscles in her 88-pound frame.

Ricci has just returned from Buenos Aires, where she won gold and silver medals in her first international competition last week.

“Especially after Argentina and officially being on Team USA, I am ready to just go forward in this sport and I have confidence that as long as I stay healthy, I can,” Ricci told FOX40.

Jaime Llopis, Ricci’s coach, said her ultimate goal is to be an Olympian.

In order to do that, Ricci has made a lot of changes to her life. For starters, in the last year, she has packed on 23 pounds.

“Our goal is to pack on as much lean bodymass on (4'6") as we possibly can,” Llopis said “She comes to the gym, I pick her up at 5 a.m. in the morning, and she's with me until about noon. She does her homework here. She trains for about two hours a day and sometimes twice a day.”

“To be successful in something, you can't just love the outcome of it. You need to love the process to get there,” Ricci said.

Up next for Ricci is working her way on to the world team for the U.S., which basically means she has six months to increase the total weight she lifts by 33 pounds.

“I can grind all day if I had the chance,” Ricci said. “Mentally, I'm more ready for it than my body is.”

If there is one thing Ricci isn't short on, it's determination. Ricci’s goal is to be on the 2024 Olympic weightlifting team for the U.S.

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