Ian Estopare, age 14, of Overland Park, Kansas recently won his first American Open championship (69 kg/Youth). Ian has been a competitive weightlifter since age 7 and is coached by Boris Urman.
Q: How did you get started in weightlifting?
My coach, Boris Urman, worked for my father as a strength coach and convinced me to try the sport.
Q: What do you enjoy most about weightlifting?
I love training and getting stronger and smarter in the sport.
Q: What does your current training routine look like?
I train 6 days a week 2 hours a day all year round. I honestly wish I could train twice a day or maybe 3 times because I enjoy it so much.
Q: Who do you train with?
I don’t have a training partner exactly but I do train with one of my best friends, Dean Scicchitano (recently made 2017 youth world team.). We help each other out and motivate each other to be stronger.
Q: Do you have a good luck charm for competitions?If so, what is it?
Ever since I was young my Dad put 2 socks on each foot, and then he’d tie my shoes before every competition. We’ve kept up this ritual through the years.
Q: Who do you look up to in the sport?Why?
I have many professional world class weightlifters that I look up to and strive to become like someday. However, I’d say I mostly look up to my coach Boris. He’s been through it all and is a master in every aspect in the sport.
Q: What qualities do great coaches possess?
Being a great coach takes many things. First, they must have the experience to be able to coach their athlete in the best way. They must never, ever give up on an athlete no matter how old, young, weak. No matter what–a great coach never gives up. A coach must believe that the athlete will succeed and will do anything to help them.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I’ve ever received came from my coach Boris. It was one day before we flew out to nationals 2016 and Boris sat all of us down and said, “An eagle is destined to be great at one thing the moment it hatches out of its egg. It’s your job to find out what kind of eagle you are.” That competition I went 6 for 6 and broke all of my personal records.
Q: What have you learned from weightlifting that helps you in other parts of your life?
Commitment in weightlifting really affects your attitude about other things such as school, family, friends, and other hobbies. You must be committed to be great. And if you don’t love it, don’t do it. My Coach Boris has taught me to listen when people try to help you, and weightlifting has taught me to help others that need help.
Q: Where does your strength come from?
My strength definitely comes from my passion to be great in this sport. I understand that it takes relentless hard work and determination, and I am certainly prepared for the challenges. I know that so many people want me to succeed in what I love, and I want them to all see me succeed.