Friday, November 1, 2013

Elite Haters Gon' Hate

Just recently, from October 20-27, the World Weightlifting Championships were held in sunny Wroclaw, Poland. If you're a weightlifting fan then it's second only to the Olympics in terms of the level of competitors that you'll get to see.

Apti Aukhadov power jerking 212kg
This years event was no disappointment; there was some amazing lifting and a bunch of records were destroyed. Unfortunately, this great weekend of competition was marred by some American athletes running their mouths for no reason. Kendrick Farris and Derrick Johnson both felt the need to talk shit, specifically regarding one of the most impressive lifters in the world right now, Lu Xiao Jun (-77kg) from China. Lu had a most impressive weekend, snatching 176kg and clean and jerking 204kg (391 pounds and 453, respectively...from a 171 pound guy). The snatch is a world record and the clean and jerk is a few kilos shy of the record. 

Kendrick, our countries best lifter and the only American male to make the 2012 Olympic games as a weightlifter, took to his FaceBook account to say this gem:

This his little buddy Derrick went on to say this:

First off; we don't know which international weightlifters use performance enhancing drugs until they test positive. If Lu was competing at these games, then he didn't test positive. Given the history of weightlifting and the current knowledge we have, we can assume that they are using, but that's it. An assumption. Secondly; it doesn't matter. Lu isn't in either one of their weight classes and neither one of them were competing at these games. To say that it'd be impressive if he could pass the USADA's testing would be like saying it'd be impressive if Kendrick or Derrick could even make the team in China. He lifts for a country that has much more lax drug testing than our own country. Lu is playing by the specific set of rules he, and most other countries, have been given He is tested around competitions and that is it. American lifters, however, are tested year round regardless of their competition schedule. 

I get why Kendrick is mad; it must suck seeing someone two full weight classes below you snatching 14kg more than you are, and cleaning just 7kg less (on his second attempt, skipped his third) than your personal best. But to say what he said really is just suggesting that the only reason Lu was able to make that lift was because of drug use. Last time I checked drugs didn't make you spend hours and hours in the gym and drugs didn't give you flawless technique. 

Do drugs help? Absolutely. Are American lifters at a huge disadvantage because of our testing policies? Without a doubt. I'm certainly not condoning drug use by any means, but it's a part of the sport right now and you have to deal with it. 

It sucks, really. Kendrick is a great lifter whom I admire very much, so I just don't understand why he needed to run his mouth about that. There were several amazing lifts by lifters of various weight classes in both genders. A woman named Tatiana Kashirina (75kg+, BW 104kg) from Russia (power)clean and jerked a world record 190kg (422 pounds) and took a swing at 192kg. In fact, a 69kg woman from China managed to snatch 1kg more than our American 69kg male lifter...which isn't great. 

Now, I'm not hating on American weightlifting. I think we have fantastic lifters and I understand the struggles they are dealing with. They compete in a wildly under-appreciated sport; their counterparts in other countries are often regarded as superstars and are treated and paid like pro-athletes. Our athletes here have to develop a living by doing CrossFit seminars and shilling supplements while toiling away for their sport in relative anonymity. Our current most famous weightlifter is Holley Mangold, and she's famous for being on The Biggest Loser. On top of that the USADA is constantly up their butts about drug-testing, something they don't have to deal with in most of the super-power countries in Europe and Asia. 

But I don't get the negativity; both towards their fellow lifters and towards the fans. Really, Derrick? You're disgusted by us? And Kendrick wants to "Bless The Gym", but only if all the lifters in there are USADA drug tested? They should prepare themselves to be butthurt at a lot of competitions where there are guys who don't have to follow our rules kicking their asses. Keep it to yourselves, guys. Just keep training hard. 

Have a great day and go lift some heavy shit.


  1. Some people condone cheating, some don't. This is pretty much the same bullshit as when people claim Cutler, Coleman and so on are drug free.

    "[...]it's a part of the sport right now and you have to deal with it". No it is not. Drugs are not allowed - it is cheating. How should one deal with it? Legit lifters are being cheated over and over.

    BTW: No need to respond. I was just checking out your blog and won't be coming back.

    1. Thanks for supporting my blog, Anonymous. I appreciate you taking the time to read this.

      If you re-read the post, you'll see that I'm in no way condoning the drug use in weightlifting, but that I'm acknowledging it. If we could get rid of all the drugs in weightlifting then I'd love to do that, but I don't have the solution and I'm willing to bet that you don't either. If a lifter is at an international level meet then he has passed the pre-requisite drug tests to be allowed to compete, so accusing him of cheating is a moot point. Drug use is a big part of the landscape of the sport right now, so whining about it isn't going to do anybody any good.