The strength sport of Powerlifting is enjoyed by both men and women in over 78 countries around the world; Powerlifting is without doubt the ultimate strength sport. It is distinct from Weightlifting - a technical event made up of two lifts, the Snatch and the Clean-and-Jerk, where the weight is lifted above the head.
Powerlifting is a test of pure, unadulterated, brute strength, and comprises three lifts: The Squat, The Bench Press and The Deadlift. As in most sports, regional, national and international championships provide the setting for athletes to compete against each other, with all the associated glory and recognition that one might expect, but Powerlifting is essentially an individualistic sport where self-improvement is the greatest motivating factor. In Powerlifting competition, athletes are categorized by sex, age and bodyweight. Each competitor is allowed three attempts at each lift, the best lift in each discipline being added to their total. The lifter with the highest total is the winner. In cases where two or more lifters achieve the same total, the person with the lightest bodyweight wins.
The sport of Powerlifting is considered by most as the only true test of strength, mainly because it is a judged, equal playing field, and drug tested sport, the three disciplines, the Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift test the overall body strength, unlike other strength sports where only partial body events are used.
The Squat is the first, and by far the biggest, of the three lifts. Standing upright with the barbell resting across the back of the shoulders, the lifter sits or 'squats' down to a required depth and then attempts to stand up again, returning to the original position. This may sound simple.... but not when the barbell concerned weighs 3-4 times your bodyweight!
The Bench Press:
Probably the most famous and best-loved exercise practiced by millions of people in gyms throughout the world, the Bench Press is the second lift in a Powerlifting competition. Lying flat on their back on a bench of a certain height and specification, the lifter holds the barbell at arms length above the chest. The bar is then lowered until it stops on the chest and then pushed or 'pressed' back up again.
The final lift of the 'Big 3', the Deadlift, as the name suggests, involves lifting a 'dead' weight. Gripping the barbell, which sits flat on the floor, the athlete attempts to lift the weight until they are standing upright with their shoulders back.
The sport of Powerlifting in Newfoundland and Labrador has long strong roots, in 1969 the first contest was held in Newfoundland and Labrador. Lifters such as Lester Butler, Bill Hollohan, Rudy Parsons, Fred Carberry, Terry Young, Frank Williams, Jimmy Gallant, Don Cormier and George Power participated in the earlier contests. Gallant and Power would later represent Canada at the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) Worlds in Perth Australia. In 2004 Don Cormier set two new masters II (age 50-59) Canadian Records one in the Squat and Bench Press and won 2 silver medals at the world Masters in 2005. Terry Young, an inductee to the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall of Fame won the IPF World Championships in 1995. In Perth Australia, 1987, Corner Brook native Joy Burt was the first Newfoundlander to become World Champion; she repeated this accomplishment again in 1992 in Gent Belgium by beating current World champion Carrie Bourdeau from USA. Joy Burt’s career on the World stage has earned her two World titles and runner-up three other times in five attempts. Irene King from St John’s have joined Joy in winning the World Championships twice, the first being Argentina in 1998 and in Moose Jaw Canada in 2001. Vasco Simpson from Labrador City won a bronze medal at the IPF Worlds in 1992, and Walt Forsey won silver in 1998. Mark Holloway was the first lifter in the CPU to Bench Press 600lbs. Newfoundland and Labrador lifters over the past 30 years have set in excessive of 65 new Canadian Records and, this mark have only been exceeded by Ontario. Newfoundland and Labrador lifters have also set 6 World Records, 5 by Joy Burt and one by 17 year old Ryan Rowsell. To date more than 20 fellow Newfoundlanders have competed at the IPF Worlds.
NLPA VICE-PRESIDENT'S (CHIEF'S) HISTORY
The history of Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting began for me in early 1969-1970 when I entered my first Olympic weightlifting contest. The sport actually began in 1967.
At one time in the history of Powerlifting you could pick a team from the Stephenville area alone to represent the province at any level being it a National or International competition.
In 1976, the Trojan Horse held the First Canadian Powerlifting Championship in Newfoundland.
In 1994, Newfoundland and Labrador had a 4-man team at the Canadians, which consisted of Don Cormier, Justin Cormier, Stephen Patey and Dan King. These four lifters carried the torch proudly.
In 1997, at the Corner Brook meet, the Junior and Masters competition was held.
The province of Newfoundland and Labrador will always have a strong team for the future because of Les Butler and all the great builders and promoters of the sport. With coaching from lifters like Ralph Payne, you will always have world-class powerlifters like Ryan Rowsell, the current Canadian Junior Champion and former Junior World Record holder in the bench press.
Newfoundland and Labrador will always be known for their team spirit and support of their fellow members because of talented people such as Frank Williams and his executives who know how to make us succeed and be proud of our accomplishments.
Newfoundland and Labrador has always represented their province proudly since 1967 and I’m positive it will remain that way well into the future.
World Class Powerlifter (Chief)