COLUMN: I love the way you lift

Will Johnson competed in his second Olympic weightlifting competition this weekend.

Will Johnson competed in the second Power By You Classic this weekend. He successfully snatched 135 pounds and clean and jerked 185 pounds

I’m still sore.

This past weekend I competed in the second annual Power By You Classic, a weightlifting competition that attracted athletes from around the province, and somehow I came out with a gold medal in my weight class snatching 135 pounds and clean and jerking 185, a personal record.

Having been strong-armed into participating by my colleague Tyler Harper, who was planning to cover the event, I’d spent the past two months practicing (over and over and over again) the body movements involved in wrenching the barbell off the ground and hoisting it overhead.

It’s more complicated than it looks.

If you watch local firefighter Leo Grypma, who ultimately clean and jerked 305 pounds on Saturday, you’d be forgiven for feeling like you could never replicate his nostril-flaring prowess. To quote Fight Club, the guy looks like he’s carved out of wood, while I routinely feel like I’m carved from a wad of cookie dough.

The dude is my primary source of bicep envy, and along with owner Ali Popoff and trainer Katya Campbell, he’s responsible for cultivating my newfound skill set.

But really, when I try to explain to people why/how I got into Olympic lifting and what I get out of it, it has a lot less to do with the physical aspect of the sport and more to do with A) keeping on top of my mental health and B) being part of an encouragement-heavy community. CrossFit started out as an alternative to swimming while the pool was being renovated, but now it’s become a pseudo-religion.

The crowd getting into this scene is impossible to classify: you’ve got mother and daughter duos like Ronnie Maclean and Kelsey O’Connor, half the staff of the Nelson Police Department (Chief Paul Burkart just joined!), high school athletes like Jaydon Wouters and nerds like our sports reporter. Looking around the room during the competition, I would say the gender split was pretty near 50-50.

And the positive vibes are everywhere. I was moved to see this Facebook post from my fellow lifter Rebecca Gosney, who was kind enough to film my performance from the front row so I could post the videos on Facebook. Earlier in the day she’d confessed the thought of competing in front of an audience mortified her.

“Six months ago I joined Power By You,” she wrote on Facebook after the meet. “I could barely get up off the floor to do a burpee, struggled with every move and had zero confidence. Yesterday I challenged so many fears I have about being a woman.”

She itemized those fears: “put in a weight class, having strength and being judged on those things in front of a crowd.”

But in front of a tiny Front St. gym thick-packed with spectators and with three judges surrounding her, Gosney successfully completed all six of her lifts snatching 70 pounds and clean and jerking nearly 100. As she dropped the bar back down, the room erupted into enthusiastic applause.

I know exactly how she felt as she walked away triumphant.

“Still a long way to go,” Gosney wrote, “but as these amazing coaches would say: ‘You’ve got this.’”

 

Just Posted

Nelson’s oldest veteran dies at 99

Lionel Binette was well known for his annual recitation of In Flanders Fields on Remembrance Day

RED resort announces new ski lift

Topping lift will add new ski area to resort, reduce bottleneck on Motherload chair

Update: Bodies recovered from Pend d’Oreille River crash

To help support the family, a fundraiser has been set up at Kootenay Savings in Fruitvale

Paramedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

Update: Car located in Pend d’Oreille River, teenagers remain missing

A fundraiser has been set up at Kootenay Savings in Fruitvale to help support the family

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Teacher reprimanded for conduct towards special needs student

Alan Stephen Berry told vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

Woman punched on the sidelines of B.C. soccer game

Both involved were watching the U21 game in West Vancouver from the sidelines when things got heated

Most Read