The 2001 Men's Worlds were held in Sotkamo Finland at the Holiday Resort. The resort was located on a lake and many of the competitors stayed in modern furnished cabins. It reminded me of summer vacation in Northern Minnesota. It was a beautiful part in the world to hold the world championships. Sotkamo is very close to the Arctic Circle and the temperature was cold and snowing all week. This part of Finland is not very populated and some of the lifters from Sweden indicated that there are about 10 moose to every person in this part of Scandinavia. The only downfall is that this was one of the longer trips that I have taken in 5 years of IPF Competition. There are limited flights to Kajanni from Helsinki. Our trip to the meet included an 8-hour layover at the Helsinki airport. Traveling from Minnesota this added up to a 31 hour trip from my doorstep to the hotel. The venue was small but packed full of spectators every day. Eurosport was on hand to film the competition. A 1 hour program has already been shown in Europe. The Nominations list indicated that this would be one of the biggest IPF world championships ever held. I am not sure if the current conditions in the world kept some of the countries away, but there were a number of no shows. There still was a very good turn out of competitors with 159 lifters from 35 countries.
USAPL is very fortunate to have very seasoned coaches that work their tails off to get the most out of every lifters total. Coaching staff included Mike and Angie Overdeer, Larry Maile, Nolan Crabbe, Gale Gillingham, John Rivanno, and all of the team and supporting cast helped out as much as possible. The team finished in third place behind Russia and the Ukraine. This was down from last years 2nd place finish but the world is a big place and the IPF is the World Championship. Dr. Bernie Miller traveled with the team and did a great job with Chiropractic Treatment. USA Powerlifting is fortunate to have Bernie as part of the team. Bernie was recently appointed as Chairman to the IPF Medical Committee.
The 52 kg. Class provided the USA's Ervin Gainer the chance to shine. Ervin has been moving up in places over the past several years, and was 4th last year. He pulled a personal record 227.5 kg. to take the silver medal from Poland's Stanaszek, who has won the last nine years. Ervin's total, 552.5 kg. was a new American Total record. Hu, from Taiwan took the gold with a 577.5 kg. total.
The U.S. did not have an entrant in the 56 kg. class, which was dominated by Russia's Konstantin Pavlov. He won his sixth world championship with a new world record total of 645 kg. Taiwan's Hseih, the current Jr. World Champion took home the silver, 25 kg. back.
The USA's Tim Taylor, the 11 time national champion placed 5th, with a 622.5 kg. total. Tim struggled with injuries this training cycle, and was a little down from his previous best, but still a solid performance and needed points for Team USA. Daramin Sutrisno, of Indonesia, competing in his first World Championship since 1996 proved that the time off did not hurt him. He broke Lamar Gant's longstanding total record by 5 kg., with 710 kg., and defeated last year's champion, Gerry McNamara, of Ireland, by 55 kg. Mikhail Andrushin, of Russia placed third with 642.5 kg. He is one of the few lighter lifters to use an overhand hook grip in the deadlift, and seems to have no trouble hanging on to the bar.
The 67.5 kg. class was, again, the domain of Alexey Sivokon, of Kazakstan. He notched his 7th world champion, defeating Jaraslaw Olech, of Poland. Most of us were surprised to see Olech take Sivokon's World Squat record, with a 320 kg. second attempt. He tried 330 on his third, and came up with it, but the judges rejected it for lack of depth. Next year's contest will be a great battle between these two. Robert Sacco, who has room to develop in this class, took the bronze medal. The USA's Jeremy Arias struggled through a difficult training cycle, and wasn't able to get a deadlift in to the judges approval.
The 75 kg. class continued the streak of Russia's Victor Furashkin. He was fresh off a Gold Medal performance at the World Games, and beat longtime rival, Victor Baranov, also of Russia by 40 kg. The Bronze medal went to 4 time World Champion, Bazayev, of the Ukraine. The U.S. had no entrant in the 75 kg. class.
James Benemerito, who was scheduled to attend as a coach got the nod three days before departure when Dan Austin was unable to attend. It is difficult, often impossible to find someone who is willing to lift, and even close to prepared on this short of notice. James posted a solid performance, 13th place and 695 kg. in his first Open World Championships. This class was dominated by Sergei Mor, of Russia, who took his fourth Open World Championship Gold Medal home with an 850 kg. total. Second place went to Frederik Gandner of France.
The USA was represented in the 90 kg. class by Rob Wagner, who has been a solid member of many World Teams, and always a solid performer. He took the Silver medal in the squat, 347.5 kg., only 10 kg. behind class winner, Tarasenko. The Russian was the first competitor to break the 2000 barrier in the competition, with a 927.5 kg. total (2,044 lbs.). Ivan Freidun, of the Ukraine was 35 kg. back for the Silver, and the current World Master Champion, Petr Theuser, of Czechia took the Bronze.
The 100 kg. class saw the initial outing for Ray Benemerito in his new weight class. He was unable to total at the World Games due to grip problems, but returned to the gym and remedied this difficulty for this meet. He had a personal record 875 kg. total, approaching the 2000 lb. mark. Oleksy Vyshnitskyy, of the Ukraine won the class, and set a Jr. World record in the process (375 kg.) to win over Yuriy Fedorenko, of Russia by 22.5 kg. Krzystof Welna, of Poland took the bronze.
Our own Tony Harris returned to the platform after the major injury he suffered in last year's world championships with a sixth place finish in the 10 kg. class. He was in position to medal, but was unable to move the weight in his favorite lift, the deadlift to make it happen. He is sure to continue his rehab and return stronger for next year. The 110's were won on a tie in weight lifted by the lighter Valentin Dedulia, of Russia. New Zealand's Derek Pomana lifted equal weight across the board, but looks to have suffered from a miscalculation on the third pull. He clearly had enough left to pull the win, but didn't, for some reason. Istvan Arval, of Hungary pulled for the Bronze on his last pull, and was successful, with great celebration by the Hungarian coaching staff.
The U.S. had two lifters in the 125 kg. class, Tony Cardella and Pat McGettigan. Tony returned strong from a disappointing finish at the World Games to take 8th place in his first Open Worlds. He exceeded the 2000 lb. mark for the second time. Pat struggled with equipment on the squat and got his opener on the second attempt. He made a big jump to move up the places in the deadlift but it wasn't there this time. He is a great competitor, and will analyze this meet and return all the stronger. Jr. phenomenon, Vitaly Papazoz, of the Ukraine won this category by 30 kg., setting World Jr. squat, bench, and an Open world total record. He had the highest total of the meet at 1,047.5 kg. Last year's Jr. World Champion, Andrei Malanichev, of Russia took home the Silver with a 1,017 kg. total, while Volodomy Muravliov, of the Ukraine took the Bronze.
I was happy to repeat as the World Champion in the +125 kg. class. In a class where any of the top 6 or 7 lifters are capable of a 1,000 kg. total, good strategy and immediate correction of mistakes is necessary to win. Midote, of Japan, who finished ahead of me at the World Games had the biggest squat and bench of the class, and had a 67.5 kg. lead at subtotal. A missed third attempt in the bench press took away his chance of an easy win. He struggled in the deadlift, making only his opener, and we decided to go for the lead on the second attempt after seeing his opener. Neither of us made our third attempts, leaving me out in front based on my second pull. But it would always be a mistake to count out the Hungarian, Tibor Metzaros in the deadlift, and this competition was his for the deadlift. He had the bar loaded to 406.5 kg., to break the open record that Lars Noren set more than a decade ago. He pulled for what seemed like ten minutes and finished the lift. It was passed two to one by the judges for a new record, and the Silver medal. Midote took home the Bronze. Sean Culnan lifted great with a 6th place finish. He appeared to be able to lift much more than he attempted and should be in the medals soon.
This was a great competition. The venue was large and filled with an enthusiastic Finnish crowd, the equipment was perfect, and the warmup rooms well equipped. The level of competition was high in all classes, as only can be seen at an IPF World Championship. This could be seen in the results: 24 lifters totaled over 2000 lbs. This is the measure of success for heavier lifters. For lighter lifters, 32 totaled more than 10 times their body weight. It was a classy competition in every way.
Big Brad Gillingham pulling for the WIN!
Team Gillingham-Uncle Gary-Cousin Brian-Brad-Wade-Gale