We have some truly great young athletes across this land of ours. They are fast, strong, and determined to succeed. Many of them don’t play the traditional sports like baseball, basketball, football, etc. Some wrestle. Others box. We even have a segment of kids that participate in weightlifting. No, not the weightlifting you do at your local gym because you want to win the biggest loser contest at the office. I mean olympic weightlifting.
Olympic weightlifting is the style of lifting performed at you guessed it – the Olympic Games. There are four major types of lifting practiced in the world today. Most people are familiar with bodybuilding where athletes lift to change their body composition. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno started their careers as bodybuilders. Powerlifting is a sport comprised of the bench press, squat, and deadlift. Strongman competition has become very popular in recent years. Athletes pull trucks, carry boulders, press logs, and bend steel bars. Olympic weightlifting has two competitive lifts.
The Snatch is a lift where the athlete lifts a loaded barbell from the floor to overhead in a single motion. In the Clean & Jerk, the athlete lifts a loaded barbell from the floor to overhead in two movements. Gainsville, GA played host to the 2009 USAW National Schoolage Championships last weekend. In this contest, weightlifters ages 8-17 from across the country competed for national titles in their respective weight classes and age divisions. St. Louis is now home to four National Schoolage Champions.
Darrel Barnes, Darren Barnes, Avery Black, and Tom Summa are all National Champions. Darrel and Darren are twin brothers who train with Lift For Life Gym just north of Downtown St. Louis. Black and Summa are members of the Kirkwood Weightlifting Club. Both Lift For Life and Kirkwood have a long history of training weightlifting champions. Kirkwood coach, Benn Overkamp began as a young lifter over a decade ago and was a resident athlete at the United States Olympic Training Center. Lift For Life coach, Derrick Johnson is a former Schoolage, Junior, and Senior National Champion. Johnson was recently named Head Coach of the weightlifting team at Lindenwood University.
Sportsmanship involves keeping kids active in all sports and congratulating them for a job well done. Congratulations to the Lift For Life and Kirkwood teams for their championship attitudes and results. To see how much weight these kids lifted, please visit www.weightlifting.teamusa.org and click results. Remember to multiply the numbers you see by 2.2 for an accurate measurement in pounds (olympic weightlifting uses the metric system). Until next time…
Be a Good Sport!