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Strength Events

  • Urine Swap Leads to 4 Year Ban

    BUDAPEST, Hungary -- It’s the oldest trick in the book. If your drug test isn’t going to be clean, use someone else’s urine. Some have gone so far as to use a reservoir and a hidden tube, if the test is watched, but it’s still someone else’s urine and science can catch the con.

    We don’t know how the switch was made, but a good old DNA test caught former European weightlifting championship silver medalist Stanislav Chadovich of Belarus. The 62-kilogram lifter was withdrawn from competition without an explanation, just before the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. He was considered a medal contender, but is now banned for four years for trying to use a substitute urine sample in his pre-Olympic doping test.

    The out-of-competition test took place July 29, 2016, making the suspension backdated. The IWF has already banned the Belarusian weightlifting team from competition for failed doping samples from the 2008 and 2012 retests. This team ban follows the 2016 ban of nearly all Russian team sports from Rio games.

  • Athletes are the First Victims of Iran's Retaliation

    TEHRAN, Iran -- U.S. wrestlers have been banned from participation in the Freestyle World Cup, as reported by Iran's official news agency. The ban is the first official response in previously threatened retaliation to President Donald Trump's executive order banning travel Visas for Iranian citizens.

    "Eventually the visit by the U.S. freestyle wrestling team was opposed," said Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi, referring to a special committee review of the event.

    The Freestyle World Cup is to take place Feb. 16-17 in the Iranian western city of Kermanshah. Wikipedia states, "Wrestling World Cup is an international wrestling competition among teams representing member nations of the United World Wrestling (UWW) the sport's global governing body. The championships have been conducted every year since the 1973 tournament. The World Cup began as a dual-meet competition for the top teams on each continent, but now features the top teams in the rankings of the previous year's world championships."  The first Freestyle World Cup took place in Toledo, Ohio, where it has been held a total of 17 times. It has been held a total 29 times in the United States. Iran has held the event five times.

    The following athletes are currently wrestling for the USA Wrestling Freestyle Men's Team: Cody Brewer (61 kg), Kyle Snyder (97 kg), Nick Gwiazdowski (125 kg).

    The following athletes are currently wrestling for the USA Wrestling Freestyle Women's Team: Victoria Anthony (48 kg), Sarah Hildebrandt (55 kg), Alli Ragan (60 kg), Tamyra Mensah (69 kg).

  • USA Weightlifting Statement on Recent Government Action

    This Press Release comes from the International Weightlifting Federation web site, posted Feb. 2, 2017: IWF.net

    Some questions have arisen about the recent executive order regarding immigration that was issued by President Donald Trump on Friday. USA Weightlifting will host the 2017 IWF Weightlifting World Championships later this year in Anaheim, Calif. Press inquiries can be directed to anna.resman@usaweightlifting.org or kevin.farley@usaweightlifting.org.

    The following statement is from Phil Andrews, CEO of USA Weightlifting:

    “Our view is that politics and sport should be separate. Weightlifting provides an excellent opportunity to interact with our fellow nations from all parts of the planet in a peaceful and cooperative fashion.

    At this time, we are still working out what impacts beyond the initial 90 day period that this issue may have, both on Iran’s participation in the World Championships in Anaheim, CA, and on our own team’s participation in the Fajr Cup in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    We sincerely hope to peacefully welcome these 7 nations to Anaheim this November. It is unimaginable to be able to host a true World event without their participation.”

    The U.S. Olympic Committee provided its own update about the situation Monday.

    Attributable to United States Olympic Committee Chairman Larry Probst and USOC CEO Scott Blackmun:

    “We have received a number of inquiries about the executive order regarding immigration that was issued by President Trump on Friday. Like the United States, the Olympic Movement was founded based upon principles of diversity and inclusion, of opportunity and overcoming adversity. As the steward of the Olympic Movement in the United States, we embrace those values. We also acknowledge the difficult task of providing for the safety and security of a nation. It is our sincere hope that the executive order as implemented will appropriately recognize the values on which our nation, as well as the Olympic Movement, were founded.

    “We have been specifically asked about the impact that the executive order could have on athletes and officials coming to the United States to compete. Recognizing the extraordinary power of international sport to bring people together in a peaceful celebration of friendship, excellence and respect, the U.S. government has today advised us that it will work with us to ensure that athletes and officials from all countries will have expedited access to the United States in order to participate in international athletic competitions.

    “We appreciate your support and patience.”

    The IWF is closely monitoring the situation and will proceed to a Technical Visit in Anaheim later this month.

    In close cooparation with USA Weightlifting, the aim is to clarify the situation, inform the Membership and working on the smooth organization of the 2017 IWF World Championships that would not affect the participation.

  • Weightlifting Hit by Immigration Ban

    Weightlifting doesn't get much media attention. Of course, as soon as it goes away, then it makes the news!

    The CEO of Weightlifting USA, the branch of the US Olympic Committee that covers weightlifting, was the bearer of bad news on NPR.

    Norbert Schemansky 1964 Weightlifting Nationals Poster AAU USA
    Norbert Schemansky 1964 Weightlifting Nationals Poster AAU y.

    It turns out that the executive order with the immigration and refugee ban, signed by President Donald Trump on Friday, January 27, 2016, will have an impact on the sport of weightlifting and every other Olympic sport. The ban prohibits travel from Iran to the U.S. for the next 90 days from the date of signing.

    As if that weren't bad enough, six other countries are also included, the Iranian government is taking reciprocal actions that have not been spelled out yet, but they would be "proportionate legal, consular and political action and ... will take reciprocal measures in order to safeguard the rights of its citizens until the time of the removal of the insulting restrictions of the government of the United States against Iranian nationals."

    If you would like to read more about the ban, check out this and related articles from the Sentinel-Tribune newspaper.

  • Come to Schemansky's 91st Birthday Celebration

    This is your chance to meet the legendary Norbert Schemansky!

    Norbert Schemansky 91st Birthday Commemorative Poster
    Norbert Schemansky 91st Birthday Commemorative Poster

    Join Shemansky’s Celebration

    We are celebrating Norbert Schemansky's 91st Birthday on May 30, 2015. If you are a lifter, then you should be there. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t picked up the weights in 50 years or if you are only 15 years old. Norb wants to get together with his friends and fellow lifters. You should come, regardless how long it’s been since you last hung out with Norb, or if you’ve never met. All are welcome and encouraged to come.

    For those of you who want a few of Norb’s stats, here you go. For the strongman fans, he is the last guy to have lifted the real Apollon Bar. Replicas are almost a standard thing to lift in strongman contests today. He also has 4 Olympic Medals, in non-consecutive Olympics. Then there are the 70 plus records, including World Records, Olympic Records and National Records. In my opinion, his last World Record is the most impressive, because he was a 38 year old heavyweight when he did that snatch!
    Really, make sure to be there. Norb wants this to be an event where new friendships are made, great old stories are told and weightlifters make some new connections. Be a part of the celebration.

    Here are the details.

    Date: 5 PM, Saturday, May 30, 2015

    Location:

    Doc's Sports Retreat

    19265 Victor Parkway

    Livonia, MI 48152

    (734)542-8162

    RSVP by May 23, 2015

    PRICE: $50 - Includes Choice of Entree: Prime Rib, Grilled Salmon or Chicken Cordon Bleu with House Salad, Mashed potatoes, Veg du Jour, Desserts & Coffee, Open Bar

    Hotel Special: Embassy Suites Hotel $89

    19525 Victor Parkway

    1/2 Block from Doc's Sports Retreat

    Mention "Doc's" for Special Rate

    (734)462-6000

  • Hitler’s Idea of the Perfect Body

    John Grimek "Strength & Health" Magazine Cover Poster
    John Grimek "Strength & Health" Magazine Cover Poster

    John Grimek, Olympic weightlifting and Hitler all became strangely linked in 1936 and 1938. Thanks to my “York Barbell Picnic’s & Classic Strength Events” book project, I’ve really been getting into studying weightlifting in the time just before WWII. It was a fascinating time for the sport. Rules were being formalized at the same time two political super powers were emerging and attempting to dominate that sport.

    Today, the two political super powers associated in American minds would be the United States and Russia. Reality is that neither country has come close to dominating the sport since before the fall of the Soviet Union. In fact, in the 1930’s Nazi Germany and the United States were the two countries fighting for dominance.

    At this point, I urge you to get a little background for this setting. Start with this fantastic article, done by Alastair Sooke, on the BBC web site:
    http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20150324-hitlers-idea-of-the-perfect-body
    Of particular interest should be the propaganda film “Olympia” (1938), by Leni Riefenstahl, which has a link in the article.
    Sit back with a cup of coffee and enjoy.

    All the best,
    Roger LaPointe
    Today is a good day to lift.”

  • Learn From History’s Best Deadlifters

    It’s time to learn a few real tips on improving your deadlift. I also know that you want the York Barbell secret to improving your deadlift. Everyone wants that secret. Now it’s time to ferret that secret out from the BS out there. As impossible as that may seem, with the deadlift, we are in luck.

    Surprise, surprise, Bob Hoffman didn’t come up with the secret, but he did use it. He was a smart guy. Like Hoffman, I like to look at records and then work backwards. Additionally, I’m drug free and the only real way to confirm that status is to look at a time before there were modern performance enhancing drugs.

    You also get a two-fer on this tip. You will improve your deadlift, while improving your grip. In the pre-drug era, two Americans rank up with Hermann Goerner for having the best two hand deadlifts ever. I believe that all three trained basically the same way. They were quick, explosive Olympic weightlifters who made extensive use of thick bars in the training hall. On a pound for pound basis, Olympic Weightlifters Chuck Vinci and John Terry were second only to Goerner, according to the calculations of David Willoughby. Both of them did, the now standard, reverse grip, while Goerner did a clean grip. Both Terry (132 pound bodyweight) and Vinci (123 pound bodyweight) are credited with 600 pounds, but there is some argument that Terry may have actually done 610 pounds.

    All three lifters made a major focus on their deadlift, but started as Olympic style weightlifters. Goerner is not known for his Olympic weightlifting prowess today, but in the 1920s he was trading records back and forth with Charles Rigoulot in all the quick lifts, especially the one handed Olympic lifts. In addition to his World Record in the two hand snatch (215 lbs., 132 Class), Terry also held the Right Hand Barbell Clean & Jerk of 148 ½ pounds.

    Their common training tool was the thick bar. Both Goerner and Terry made use of thick bar training. It is widely suspected that Chuck Vinci did as well. As Terry lived in York, PA and trained at York Barbell, he had access to a wide variety of thick bars. In fact, at the 1940 Strength & Health Picnic, Hoffman made a big deal out of a specially made thick bar that he used for bent pressing. Additionally, if you go to the York Barbell Weightlifting Hall of Fame, you will note a number of thick handled globe type barbells, including the Cyr Bell, pictured above.

    When I worked with Smitty, he showed me photos of himself training with a two inch diameter bar, with Bill March. They used that barbell extensively in their power rack training. Smitty was a huge proponent of thick bar work, because of the results he saw as the York Barbell trainer. All of the York guys made use of a variety of both rotating and non-rotating thick bars.

    If you are going to seriously work on your deadlift, the simplest modification you can make to your routine, is the addition of a thick bar training, both with barbells and dumbbells.

    Eric Fiorillo and Roger LaPointe did a Motivation & Muscle Podcast on this topic, called "Goerner & Grip Strength".  For additional reading, this BLOG posting is an excerpt from the new book by Roger LaPointe "York Barbell Picnics & Classic Strength Events".  Click the link and pick it up from the Atomic Athletic web site.

  • Head Shot

    Black eyes and bloody noses are what most people think of when talk turns to head shots in this industry, but I'm happy as heck to have gotten one this time. You see, earlier this week the Sentinel-Tribune Newspaper photographer did my head shot with his camera.

    I've got a new monthly print column starting called “Body of Work”. Bland bouncy “fitness trainer” fare this is not. I'm writing an old fashioned exercise column with a twist. You should have seen the news room when I walked through to the photo studio. The Editor wasn't kidding when she said that my pieces had made the rounds to the various desks.

    It's really just a matter of time before they start rolling out, so stay aware and I will post when the first one goes to print. I know it's just once a month, but I'm super stoked about this.

    All the best,
    Roger LaPointe

  • Darth Vader and York Barbell

    “Roger LaPointe to the store front desk, please.”

    Dave Prowse, who played Darth Vader, at York Barbell
    Dave Prowse choking Roger LaPointe in the York Barbell Weightlifting Hall of Fame.

    I loved to hear that request echo from the tinny, feedback filled York Barbell intercom.  It was ALWAYS going to lead to something interesting.

    That day was no exception.  Twenty years after I first encountered him on the big screen, I met Darth Vader, I mean Dave Prowse.  Yes, I instantly became that shocked six year old in a movie theater seeing a light saber for the first time. It was 1997 and Dave Prowse wanted to meet “the lifter” at York Barbell.  Fortunately for me, Dave had dealt with plenty of star struck fans.  It didn't take long before we were talking about weightlifting, gyms and the fun of a real Highland games.  We genuinely had interests in common.

    Dave has a really outstanding sense of humor and loves the strength sports.  He also has a great voice to top off his commanding presence.  The photo above shows Dave choking me in the York Barbell Weightlifting Hall of Fame.

    Years before, Dr. Bob Suchyta had told me that if I take my lifting seriously, it will take me to amazing places. The beauty of weightlifting is that it is just you and a barbell.  The barbell is an inanimate object.  If you don't do anything, then it will also do nothing.  The same can be said of stone lifting, or throwing a caber.  The lessons of the iron are great.

    Dave Prowse told me the same thing as Dr. Bob.  In their humility, just meeting each of them was already something great.  Look up Dave's biography.  It reads like Charles Atlas.  He really was the sickly kid who went on to lift the unliftable stones.  Little did I know, my lifting would take me to the stars, to battle with the most notorious villain of all time, or at least the actor who played him.

    All the best, 

    Roger LaPointe

    Today is a good day to lift.”

    P.S. My, now seven year old, son tells me that it's obviously not Darth Vader choking me in the photo, after all, “where is his cape and helmet?”  (Raspy breathing sound effect: “Jackson, I am your father.”)

  • Throwing Down a Pint

    joe-marino-bodybuilder
    Carry On, Joe Marino - Joe has always promoted the idea of camaraderie in strength sports, especially through the AOBS.

    As you can imagine, I'm not a big drinker, but that was great fun. I've been working so long and hard on the Atomic Athletic web site that my social, camaraderie oriented side of life has been lacking. I almost titled this Bomb Proof Bulletin “Extending the Conversation”, which would have been descriptive, but didn't have the punchy flavor I wanted, but you get the idea.

    Just Did It
    You see, like any other sport, you can only “do” strength sports for so long. I'm also not talking about age here. We have Masters athletics for those of us who want to compete in age group sports. I'm talking about being a spectator. It's the art of watching the game with buddies. Most of us at the Pub had done some sort of coaching and recruiting for the Open Curling we have, thanks to the advertising power of the the Olympics being on television. By Friday, we were done for the week. It was time to relax and talk about the sport. Tell some jokes. You get the idea.

    Last week, I met with my buddy, Dr. Bob Suchyta, at his bar, Doc's Sports Retreat. Dr. Bob is the guy who got me into Olympic style Weightlifting. Believe me, he was a much better lifter than I have ever been, having been trained by Norbert Schemansky, at the Astro Club. We had a blast talking about lifting and checking out all of his sports memorabilia. His place is a modern sports bar that shows off a collection that includes pieces from Gordy Howe, other Red Wings, Lions, Tigers, Pistons and of course, weightlifters. There is at least an entire case of memorabilia just about Norbert Schemansky, but other lifters, strongmen and bodybuilders are represented as well.

    Click this link if you want to check out Doc's Sports Retreat: http://www.docssportretreat.com/

    Both Vic Boff and Joe Marino drummed the concepts of camaraderie and fellowship into my head. They are essential for any sport. In case you didn't know, the AOBS (Association of Oldetime Barbell & Strongmen, which Vic founded) started as an informal get-together to celebrate Sig Klein's birthday. Make sure to get together with your lifting buddies. If they have all disappeared, find new ones. Make sure to add in some young guys, or even “old guys” who are new to the sport.

    Vic Boff Collection: http://atomicathletic.com/store/index.php/vic-boff-collection-2-books-dvd.html

    Continue to check out the Atomic Athletic BLOG for more. I add bits & pieces to it, that are not long enough for a Bulletin.   Of course, not all the Bulletins make it to the BLOG.  They really are different entities.

    Atomic Athletic Great Black Swamp Olde Time Strongman Picnic Collage
    Atomic Athletic Great Black Swamp Olde Time Strongman Picnic Collage

    All the best,
    Roger LaPointe
    “Today is a good day to lift.”

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