This weekend I took part in my first Weightlifting competition. More commonly known as “Olympic Weightlifting,” it’s the sport which is comprised of the snatch and the clean-and-jerk. I made all six of my attempts, below are my best snatch, then clean-and-jerk:
The obvious question to ask is how did I do, and that’s a rather interesting question because there are so many different ways of taking it.
One question to ask is how I did relative to other people, but even that requires clarification. How did I do relative to other people in my weight class? I was in the 109kg weight class (it’s from 102-109), and I totaled more than 100kg behind the next 109 and less than half of what the top 109 lifted. That said, I’ve only been doing Olympic Weightlifting for about two months while they’ve almost certainly been doing it quite a bit longer, so that’s not a very interesting comparison.
I lifted more than the other people in my session (the sessions are broken up by entry total, the session I was in being the one for people with small totals), but that mostly means that I lifted more than some children and a 64 year old man who weighed about three fourths of what I did.
How did I do for someone my size and age who has only been Olympic Weightlifting for two months? I don’t know. I haven’t seen any statistics on weightlifters in the 109kg, 40-45 age group who have only been lifting for two months. And I’ve done powerlifting for years, so I started with a decent (but not amazing) strength base. Are there any statistics for males in my exact situation, or even one similar? Who knows? Who cares?
The problem with trying to answer this question is that when you really dig into it, it either doesn’t matter, or matters but is known to God alone. (That latter one being the moral question of did I apply myself appropriately, given the gifts I have and the relative importance of this task compared to other tasks I’ve been given.)
Some people deal with this issue by saying that in a weightlifting meet like this, when you’re not one of the people who (speaking realistically) might win the cash prize1, you are just competing against yourself. In which case I established a baseline, which is all that I could have done. So, on this metric, I did as well as I could have.
That doesn’t seem quite right to me, though.
It does seem to me that those of us who were never going to win the cash prize were still competing, but not against other people or ourselves. The feeling I got at the meet was that we were all on the same team competing against the weights. When a lifter made a lift, he scored a victory against our common foe.
We didn’t merely cheer for each other and try to encourage each other; that might be mere good sportsmanship. When someone made an attempt, we knew what he was going through and it felt good when he made it, and bad when he missed. The weights he is struggling against are the same weights we struggled against, or would soon struggle against.
We were competing, but it was against the weights. Our opponents were not flesh and blood, but rubber and steel.
- There actually was a cash prize in this meet, btw, computed on the basis of Sinclair Score, which is the weightlifting equivalent of the Wilks Coefficient.
One thought on “My First Weightlifting Competition”
Congrats, Christopher! I commend you for challenging yourself in the Olympic style of weightlifting, which I think is more difficult and reflective of overall athletic talent than powerlifting. ( I can speak a bit about the latter having entered one such competition many eons ago, after active duty service and during grad school.) Well done, my friend.
I hope you enjoyed the experience and have found another pursuit that you can enjoy. Did the boys get to watch you compete?
Take care – pax et Bonum.
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