Weightlifter Spotlight: Bill Barkelew
2nd in a series of weightlifter spotlights, to help our continually growing community, get to know one another outside of "What do you snatch and clean & jerk?".
Today's spotlight shines down somewhere over Springfield, Oregon on a pilar of Oregon Weightlifting, life long lifter, Bill Barkelew.
If you've ever lifted at a meet held at the Ironworks Gym hosted by Heavy Athletics, you're most certainly familiar with a certain center referee named Bill. Bill's infamous for being a stern and fair referee, sitting up close to the platform, his great mustache and most of all not flinching one inch even when a lifter is clearly running with a barbell overhead trying desperately to save a snatch. Bill has also single handedly maintained the Oregon Weightlifting website for a couple of decades as well as aiding in managing the Oregon LWC for over 25 years along with Tom Hirtz and Jim Radcliff. Let's just say this sport is in his blood. We know Bill as the stern ref but I'm pretty sure not a lot of you know a lot about Bill the weightlifter. I got a chance to ask Bill a few questions about himself as an athlete the other day and here's what he was generous to share with us.
How long have you been weightlifting for? Started serious training in 1978, First meet was the 1978 Oregon Cup in Portland.
Your personal mantra? Relax & stay calm.
How many days a week do you train? 1976-2006 I trained 4-5 days a week, presently 2 days a week, but hope to push that to 3 days a week soon.
Who does all your programming? Basically I have always done my own programing other than when I trained with Heavy Athletics then Tom Hirtz took care of that roughly from 1996-1999.
Who do you train with? I have mainly trained at home by myself except for the time I trained with Heavy Athleics from 1996-1999.
How did you get started in weightlifting? I was a very small skinny kid in school and started reading Strength & Health Magazine in 1968 and saw Olympic lifting results and photos, so I started to lift following the photos I saw. WOW have things changed for young people wanting to start lifting now with cross fit and schools etc.
What are your best competition lifts or training lifts if you choose not to compete? 97.5 kg snatch in 1995 at 79 kg bodyweight at UO Meet, 115 kg Cl & Jk & 207.5 Total in 1999 at 81.4 kg bodyweight.
Do you compete and if so why? I have not competed since April 2006 at the National Masters where I took 2nd place in the 77kg 50-54 age group. Since this last meet injury has kept me off the platform. Have been working to get back in lifting shape and might try to compete next year if everything holds together. I am at about 60% of what I could do in 2003 and hope to get up to about 80% of that, 75 sn 92.5 cl & jk, we will see.
What is your biggest accomplishment in weightlifting? Placing third at the 2003 World Masters in the 77 kg class with a 90 snatch & 110 cl&jk 200 total at 50 years old, that year I also took 1st at the Natinal Masters to qualify for the Worlds meet.
What would you say is most important to you in your success? Never give up on the training and take the bad days along with the good.
What would you say is your biggest hurdle in weightlifting? Overcoming injury.
What would you say is your biggest asset in weightlifting? My 3 years traning with Heavy Athletics.
Whats your favorite post workout recovery meal or snack? Now days it is usually a cold beer
What’s your favorite jam to listen to when you train. I always have "Country Music" on the radio when I train.
Tell us something that no ones knows about you as a weightlifter? Wow that is a tough one and I don't know.
I hope you've enjoyed the read and have a deeper understanding of the history of the sport in Oregon and the great people that make up its fiber.
Until next time, happy lifting! -Mira