Interview: Johnny Graham
Johnny Graham is the USAPL Masters Committee Chairman and Manager of the 2001 Masters team in Moose Jaw. He was interviewed in Moose Jaw by Mike Armstrong
MA: Welcome to Canada Johnny. Can you tell me a little about yourself in regards to Powerlifting?.
JG: Hi Mike. I am 49 years of age, and live in Killeen Texas. I have been lifting myself about 25 years. I serve as the Masters Committee chairman for USA Powerlifting, the Army Armed Forces coach, though I am retired now from the forces for the past two years. I retired just so that I could devote more time to powerlifting.
MA: I see you doing lots of coaching here at the worlds. What else do your duties entail?
JG: As masters committee chairman I get involved in every aspect of the team, from selection of the team members, making the hotel arrangements, room assignments, assigning coaching duties, team meetings and much more. You name it, I do it.
MA: What is that attracted you to working with the masters primarily?
JG: To me the master lifters are like a big family. I love being here and working with the older folks. But I am committed to attending every IPF worlds this year, not just the masters.
MA: You've done quite a bit of coaching Johnny. Any common frustrations that keep coming up?
JG: Oh yes, the biggest of which is the lifters ego's. Even here with the masters, though it's less that with the younger lifters. Mostly when it comes to calling attempts. Lifters so often don't seem to get it, when you come to a world championship, your nerves might be on edge, your competition are probably unknown to you, you've probably travelled a long way to get here and are all jet lagged. All of these contribute to not really knowing what is going to happen. So what do they do? They give you lifts that worked fine in the gym back home, but don't seem to go here. In some ways the masters are even worse, because event though they don't screw up as often, some of them have been at it for a long time, and are so sure they know best.
MA: Any comments on drug use?
JG: Yes, I make all of the team selections for the masters team, and if I even suspect that a person is on drugs, they don't get picked. As far as I am concerned, if ONE lifter is on drugs, the WHOLE TEAM is. There is just no place for drug users on my team.
MA: Don't you think this might leave you open to comments that you are making what might be totally untrue accusations?
JG: Maybe, but I don't really care. Like I said, drug users have no place on my team, and usually when a lifer is suspected, it turnes out to be true.
MA: How about the direction of USAPL?
JG: I think that USAPL is doing a great job, with some new faces on the EC that are looking out for what is best for the lifter first. That's very good.
MA: What about the contest here Johnny, any observations?
JG: I can honestly say that this probably the best world championships I have ever attended. The orgainzers have done a fantastic job. I've taken lots of pictures and written down some notes of ideas to use in future contest that I will do myself.
MA: Any final comments?:
JG: Yes, I just want to give some big thanks to my coaching staff here in Moose Jaw, like Gina Stapleton, Lanette Lopez, Liz Willet, Ron Burnett and Frank Palmer.
USA Team Manager Johnny Graham receiveing the Team Champion award from Meet Director Wayne Cormier (right) and the CPU's Bill Jamison.