Current mood: USA all the way!
How do I summarize into a few words the entire experience of competing as a member of Team USA in Aruba at the IPF/NAPF North American Regional Bench Press Championships? Well I really can't, but I will give a brief summary of this great meet and outstanding experience.
Thursday--I left Kentucky for Aruba. It was cold here in Kentucky (and still is) and extremely warm in Aruba. I had a layover in Miami and got my first text message from my friends and family encouraging me. The text messages continued throughout the weekend and were a real blessing and encouragement to me. Thank You to everyone who sent one, I really appreciated it!
Friday--This was my rest day from the previous days air travel. I managed to get a lot of sleep and felt really good when I woke up. During the day I went to out the beach, attended the nominations meeting and went shopping on the island. Aruba has a lot of stuff to buy and do. Too much to cover in one weekend. The day finished off when a bunch of the lifters went over to Tony Roma's for dinner. It was a great day of fellowship and fun.
Saturday--The day I had been training for the last 6 months. It was finally here and I was constantly reminding myself to live in the moment and enjoy everything about this trip. The competittion got started in the early afternoon and I recorded the entire meet. The first flight of benchers were great with some fantastic lifting. I lifted in the second flight and opened with 424 lbs. It went up like a rocket and felt very light.(see video) My second attempt was 512lbs. I was wearing a Titan Fury and took the weight at arms length, got the start and press commands then exploded the weight upward. I drove hard through the lockout and racked the weight. I arose unsure what the lights would be due to some uneveness, but joyfully I recieved 3 white lights.(see video) Praise Adonai! The 512 locked in the Gold, so I decided to go for a 3rd attempt PR of 529. Joe Dematteo & Jules Pelligrino helped tweaked the shirt a little more. I felt ready to attempt a PR. Taking the weight at arms length felt light, I got the press command & the weight came off the chest more forcefully than the 512, but I faltered at the top of the lift and the spotters took the weight. Not today, but soon. The Aruban media at the meet took a tremendous amount of pictures and video footage. Here is a link to the 385 pictures that the local radio station took. Just click on the link
The lifting highlight of the meet was the 606 lb Bench Press by IPF World Champion Dennis Cieri!(video very soon) The personal highlight was when I had the Gold medal placed on my neck and the stood on the podium as the National Anthem played(see video). It was a moment that I don't believe I will ever forget. Praise God!
After alll the awards and lifting and fun had in Aruba, I want to thank a few people for this great memory. Robert Keller & William Woodley, Thank You gentlemen for running such a great meet and especially Robert for giving me the opportunity to be a part of Team USA. I am very thankful & grateful. To all my friends and family members who sent text messages throughout out the weekend, Thank You. Words cannot express how much those messages encouraged and motivated me. I am very thankful for each and every text I recieved. Thank You! To all the members of Team USA, it was a great pleasure and joy to meet and spend time getting to know all of you. To all the staff and international lifters, especially William Woodley, thank you for sharing this moment in all our lives. You are all my friends and I hope to see you again. To Dr Hugo Velazquez, thanks for helping me with a ride to the airport. I greatly enjoyed our conversation we had while waiting for our flight and in the competition. I hope to see you again soon my friend!
Thank you to all all of the online support I recievd, I really appreciated it. Thank You!
I hope to do it all again in Costa Rica on September 2008!
USA all the way!!!!
Here are the flags, 424 & 512 bench presses, medal presentation & the National Anthem video....