Olympic Weightlifting is one of those sports that is mostly kept out of mainstream view, maybe because it is a terrible spectator sport, maybe because it’s not as fun as football or rugby, or maybe because it is incredibly niche. Whatever the reason, I think you’ll agree it is fairly unknown as a sport.
So, with this in mind, when I get asked what I do and I answer, “I’m a weightlifter” The response is usually “Ooo! What do you bench?” ***Facepalm*** Weightlifting is not Powerlifting, they are two very different sports (Weightlifting is Snatch and Clean & Jerk, Powerlifting is Squat, Bench press and Deadlift) So then comes the conversation which is loosely based around my appalling bench figures (125kg 1RM as of writing this post for anyone who gives a damn!) Then, following that conversation comes the question “How on earth did you
get into that?” Truth is, I kind of fell into the sport via another sport. See, my background is in Rugby and martial arts, and as part of my training for these sports I used to do some Olympic Lifting due to the athletic crossover from the two movements.
That said, whilst I was playing Rugby and fighting a bit, I never once thought “I really enjoy these overly complicated and very difficult lifts that I perform in training, maybe I should sack off the Rugby and pursue this…” However, due to a fairly nasty injury back in 2011, I found myself unable to play rugby or fight anymore at the same level I was at. This put me into a bit of a sulk for some time where I was hell bent on proving people wrong and getting back onto a pitch. This was however put swiftly to bed by having not one, not two or three, but four separate experts tell me that the damage to my neck was substantial enough that one wrong move in the scrum, or a bad tackle etc could render me utterly useless or worse…
Fuck! What now? I can’t play rugby or fight any more for fear either will kill me, I don’t really fancy football, so what? I tried a bunch of different sports that seemed a good idea for low or non-contact, gymnastics, archery, shooting, tennis, golf, all of which I was terrible at (Especially the tennis!) Until a friend of mine happened to ask me to help him learn how to Snatch. I went to the gym with him and coached him through the lift, and with a few demonstrations, actually really enjoyed just focusing on the movement and making it as efficient as possible, I became instantly hooked! I went home and found my nearest BWL (British Weightlifting) Club, got in touch with the coach (Who is still my coach to this day!) and went along to a session. I joined and never looked back.
In summary, I guess I have always been ‘into’ weightlifting through various mediums of the sport, but getting injured and being forced to hang up my boots and gloves pushed me into it. This has led me to now owning my own club and clothing line with a team of lifters representing me at competitions across the UK!
Goes to show, you never know what is around the corner!