The day started out good. I made 198 pounds, went back to the hotel room and began rehydration. Not gonna lie, the weigh-ins was a lil intimidating, the lifters from around the World camp to do battle.
The Squats started out with some high lifts. The Ukrainian Champion took the early lead, with the American Champion in second. The Ukrainian Champion is a former World Champion in Squats, and it showed here. I was in third place after the first attempts, and despite great efforts I was still in third place after the second attempts. I tried my best to close the gap before the Squat event was over, and I managed to be tied for second place.
Heading into the bench press I was in the bronze medal position. The American Champion turned out to be the better bencher of the field, by a lot, and came storming back to take the lead. The Ukrainian Champion finished off in second place, and despite out benching the Ukrainian I was still behind him in total because of the huge lead he had from the Squat event.Entering into the deadlift event I needed to gain some ground if I was going to win. The deadlifts is my best lift of the three events, and I had failed to win any of the two previous events. I was in third place with my total weight lifted over the first two events, and I needed a HUGE comeback if I was going to win with the over all highest weight lifted. However, I was looking more and more assured of a medal (something I always wanted in the Powerlifting World Championships).
The deadlifts were competitive, and it was a battle. In the end I was still in third place when our third and last attempt was to be made. The Ukrainian and American were ahead of me by a sizable margin. My friend from the Canadian team gave it to me bluntly when I was going to attempt my last deadlift, and the last deadlift of the competition for any one (could it be any more dramatic?)
He told me I could play it safe and go for a deadlift I had pulled before and take 3rd place, or I could go for 61o.5 pounds and go for the Gold. I had tried 600 pounds just 2 months ago and could only manage to get it an inch off the floor. Plus for that previous attempt at 600 lbs two months earlier I was not drained from a hard weight cut of 22 pounds. I didn’t think I could possibly do it. In the end my goal was to get a medal, and bronze is a medal…But a true Champion does not settle when victory is within his grasp. When victory is one lift away, you go for the opportunity, regardless if it means if you miss your lift and you leave without a medal. I could play it safe and be assured a bronze, or I could risk it all to win.
I risked it all to win.
I am proud to tell all my supporters that I am now a World Champion. I hope any one reading this gets the message…Always go for the Gold, always believe in yourself, and never settle for less than the fantasy ending.
You know, pressure can be a funny thing. It is hard to put yourself out there, and have people believe in you, and then feel the possibly of letting them down. It’s funny, when I was there in that arena, you could count the number of people who supported me on one hand. And even my biggest supporters figured I was going to go for the sure bronze and not risk it all for the hailmary last ditch effort deadlift to win it all.
But I have found sports are a funny thing. Underdogs come from the most remote places (I doubt any one there knows where Guelph Ontario is) and come from behind victories happen on the biggest of stages. While the American team was all but celebrating their victory before I even took my last attempt, no one could know the army of supporters I truely had behind me. I would always try to go for the win for them, and never would let them down. Some times it means more than just yourself, when you are representing your country and every one who believes in you. It is because of every one that is watching and looking for the update how you did that you extend yourself beyond your limits and go for the win when every one else has written you off.
This is a victory for all of us. Because without you, I would be alone in that arena.