Hampton Morris – November 2017 Featured Athlete

Hampton Morris

Meet Hampton Morris — our featured athlete for the month of November.  Hampton is a 13 year old youth weightlifter from Marietta, Georgia and is currently competing in the 50kg weight class.

When did you get started in this sport?

My first meet was on July 9th, 2016.

What (or who) got you started?

My dad.

What do you enjoy most about weightlifting?

Making new lifting friends.

What does your current training routine look like (hours per day, days per week, where you train, who you train with)?

I usually lift 3-4 days per week, 2-3 days in competition weeks, and I try to mobilize as often as possible.  I usually train in my basement or at Crossfit Dwala.  My dad is my coach.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that has been impactful?:

I think one of the most impactful parts of my training is how often I mobilize.

What do you carry around with you in your gym bag that has nothing to do with weightlifting?

I usually have only lifting-related items in my gym bag, but if I know that I will have a lot of time that I won’t be lifting, I may bring a book or some homework.

What is your diet like?

I just eat normal food.

Who do you look up to in the sport?  Why?

I look up to CJ Cummings and Harrison Maurus because of how successful they have been and how early their success began, and it inspires me to believe that I can do just as well as them.

What friendships has this sport brought your way?

Some friends that I have that I probably wouldn’t have if I weren’t a weightlifter are Logan Davies and Destiny Karch.

Are you coachable?

Yes

What qualities do great coaches possess?

Understanding how their athlete works, and how to help them work around setbacks.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?  Did you take it?

Ignore the things outside of your control, and focus on the things that are in your control.

What characteristics do you strive for (on and off the platform)?

I always try to stay calm, patient, and I always try to have fun.

If you gave everything that you owned away except three things, what would you keep?

I would keep my Kindle with all of my favorite books, including A Prayer for Owen Meany, my vintage Adidas lifters, and my Coffee’s Gym T-shirt.

When you have random free time, how do you spend it?

If I don’t feel like watching whatever’s on TV, I will probably read a book while listening to music, or play with my sister.

If you could master anything (besides weightlifting), what would it be?

I would master soccer.

What have you learned from weightlifting that helps you in other parts of your life?

I have learned how to stay calm during difficult situations, and that it’s always important to be patient.

The last time you were knocked down (or discouraged) in this sport, how did you get back up?

I just stopped thinking about it and focused on what I could do to get past it.

What is the question no one has ever asked you that you’ve always wanted to answer?

I don’t know of any.

What are you most grateful for?

My awesome family and my adorable dog, Dexter.

Where does your strength come from?

I challenge myself and get challenged by others to do my best, every day.

Antwan Kilbert – October 2017 Featured Athlete

It is with great pleasure that we introduce you to our featured athlete for the month of October: Antwan Kilbert.  Antwan is an amazing athlete and inspiration to young weightlifters in the US and abroad.  His character, as well as his strength, is admirable (and something worth paying attention to!).

When did you get started in this sport?

I started when was only 11 years old.

What (or who) got you started?

I saw my brother doing it and I tried it.What do you enjoy most about weightlifting? I like lifting the big weights.  Also, I like when you have to yell to get out of a squat, and everyone else screams with you.

What does your current training routine look like ?

I train from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. four days a week, and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that has been impactful?

I stretch a lot, and I make sure I drink a lot of water when working out.  Plus, I’ve recently been working on having a better state of mind when I’m training.

What is your diet like?

When I don’t have a meet coming up, I like eating Pizza rolls, honey buns and pop tarts.  But when a meet is coming up, I try to stick to meats and vegetables and fruit.  I cut out almost everything to drink but water.

Who do you look up to in the sport?

My coach, Jimmy Duke, and the Barnes brothers.

Why?

My Coach has always been there for me, and Darren and Darrel Barnes have great examples and have inspired me

What friendships has this sport brought your way?

I met my best friend and training partner, Jerome Smith, and Emma Nye (a friend from Kansas City).  There are a lot of people I like to catch up with at meets–athletes I have traveled with to the OTC and International meets.

Are you coachable?

Yes, for the most part I am.  I get a little mad sometimes.

What qualities do great coaches possess?

Patience, good advice, and having years of experience in the sport.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Over the last year, I have really been struggling with my jerks.  One Thursday before a Saturday meet, my coach had me work with another coach in the room.  He told me to keep my feet in “two lines”.  My coach had been telling me I was lining up my feet . . . same thing, just different words, but I had a 7kg Clean & Jerk PR because of it.  Also, I have recently been trying to take more time setting up, and that has really been helping.

What characteristics do you strive for (on and off the platform)?

Discipline, respect, and consistency.

If you gave everything that you owned away except three things, what would you keep?

My shoes, my house and my bed.

When you have random free time, how do you spend it?

I play basketball.

If you could master anything (besides weightlifting), what would it be?

Kick boxing.

What have you learned from weightlifting that helps you in other parts of your life?

Discipline.

The last time you were knocked down (or discouraged) in this sport, how did you get back up?

The last time I was really discouraged, I was at a meet.  I really messed up on my snatches.  I was upset and didn’t even want to clean and jerk at all.  My coach talked me out of it and got me thinking positive again.  I came back and did well in the clean jerk, and even made a 7kg Clean and Jerk PR!

What is the question no one has ever asked you that you’ve always wanted to answer?

How do you do it every day?  Could another person go a day in your shoes?

What are you most grateful for?

My mom and Jerome and Jimmy for being by my side the whole time.

Where does your strength come from?

Squats, a lot of squats!

What is your goal in weightlifting?

To make to the Olympics one day, but I want to go to the Youth Olympics First!

Elle Hatamiya – September 2017 Featured Athlete

Please let us introduce you to our featured athlete for the month of September: Elle Hatamiya.  Besides being an Instagram sensation, Elle is an amazing athlete (in weightlifting as well as dojo and gymnastics).  Elle is currently 12 years old and competes in the 35kg class.

Where is home?

 Albany, California

When did you get started in this sport
I started lifting when I was 10. 
What (or who) got you started?
My mom does CrossFit so then I started doing CrossFit, but I liked the Olympic-style lifts more so I started just training and competing in weightlifting.
What do you enjoy most about weightlifting?

I like the feeling of doing the lifts.

What does your current training routine look like (hours per day, days per week, where you train, who you train with)?
I train at my barbell club, Endgame Athletics, twice per week for an hour each time. I have private sessions with my brother, Jude, who trains CrossFit with our coach, Arnold Chua.  I also train with my gymnastics team, Golden Bear Gymnastics Academy, 22 hours per week over 4 days.  And, I  train at my martial arts dojo twice per week for an hour each time. Our style is called Cuong Nhu.
Even though I train 26 hours per week, I still go to regular public school, so everything happens after school and on Saturday.  I have Sundays off, unless I have a competition, because all of my training locations are closed on Sundays.
What one or two things do you currently do in your training that has been impactful?
I do a lot of power snatches and power cleans to get stronger and faster. 
What do you carry around with you in your gym bag that has nothing to do with weightlifting?
Nothing
What is your diet like?
I mostly eat food that my mom cooks:  organic as much as possible, grassfed meat, lots of fruit.  I prefer not to eat processed foods.  For breakfast, I typically have an egg, fruit, and milk. I bring lunch to school; mostly leftovers.  After school, on my way to training, I have a good snack that usually includes protein, fruit, and maybe rice.  After training, I eat a home cooked dinner.  If it’s not home cooked, it could be a burrito or sushi–something that’s relatively easy to start eating in the car.
Who do you look up to in the sport?  Why
I look up to Sarah Robles because she medaled in the Olympics. I also look up to C.J. Cummings and Harrison Maurus because they are kids but they are really strong. 
What friendships has this sport brought your way?
I get to meet lots of people at camps and competitions. I also get lots of supporters around the world though my Instagram. 
Are you coachable?
Yes
What qualities do great coaches possess
They are supportive, they believe in you, they push you, and they listen to you. 
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Did you take it?

Do what you love. Yes, I took it.

What characteristics do you strive for (on and off the platform)
Caring, calm, modest, confident. 
If you gave everything that you owned away except three things, what would you keep?
Notebook, pencil, and clothes.
When you have random free time, how do you spend it?
I make slime or origami or I play with my brother, Jude, who is 2 years younger than me. 
If you could master anything (besides weightlifting), what would it be?

 I am also a gymnast, so it would be gymnastics.

What have you learned from weightlifting that helps you in other parts of your life?
I have mental toughness and I can perfect my technique.
The last time you were knocked down (or discouraged) in this sport, how did you get back up?
At Youth Nationals I missed my first lift, but I didn’t let that discourage me or get to me; I just moved on from it and I made the rest of my lifts. 
What is the question no one has ever asked you that you’ve always wanted to answer?

 I don’t know.

What are you most grateful for?

I am grateful I have a family that supports me, I live in a good place, and I get to do what I love. 

Where does your strength come from?

 I just keep working hard and pushing myself.

Kuinini Manumua – August 2017 Featured Athlete

Please let us introduce you to our featured athlete for August: Kuinini Manumua.  We are so excited to feature Kuinini who, btw, secured a bronze medal at the Youth World Weightlifting Championship earlier this year!

Where is home?

This question is very vague in a way but I live in San Francisco,California where my home is at. But if you are indicating where is home in how I feel than to me I feel like home is wherever I feel safe and loved. Very cliche in a way but it is how I feel.

When did you get started in this sport?

I started lifting two and a half years ago. Nearing the end of my Freshmen year in high school.

What (or who) got you started?

My current coach, Kevin Doherty introduced me to weightlifting since he was a teacher at the school I am attending for a program named Avid. He is also the weightlifting, track and field and football coach.

What do you enjoy most about weightlifting?

What I enjoy the most about this sport is that I meet the most kindest and sweetest people through this sport and also finding the joy and pleasure in progressing as an athlete and also as an individual.

What does your current training routine look like (hours per day, days per week, where you train, who you train with)?

Since I am on Summer Break right now, I train two hours a day from 1pm to 3pm on Mondays to Fridays. On Saturdays I lift when I am free from 12pm to 2pm because usually I like to go to the movies,  bowling or swimming with friends. I lift for Hassle Free BBC and it is located at the high school I attend, Abraham Lincoln High School. It is a  great environment for me for I get to lift with my friends and also the youth lifters there that are very passionate and dedicated to lifting. They always bring an uplifting feeling to me when I train with these people for they make me want to be successful.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that has been impactful?

Currently I think the most impactful thing that I do in my training is trying to notice the little mistakes that I do when lifting and fixing it because it really does make a huge impact.

What do you carry around with you in your gym bag that has nothing to do with weightlifting?

Earphones, my phone, wallet and junk food for example like candy especially the blue airheads or hot chips.

What is your diet like?

Honestly speaking, I eat anything that I want. In the mornings, I eat French Toast with bacon and scrambled eggs most of time. On my way to training, I would eat  a banana or strawberries. After training, my friend Savannah and I would pick a place to get food from. Everyday is a different place where we eat all types of food of our choice. From sandwhiches of our choice to Chinese food to anything really that is very delicious. For dinner, I eat whatever my parents cooks up for dinner.

Who do you look up to in the sport?  Why?

Since I am kind of new to knowing the big time lifters in this sport, I don’t look up to anyone yet but I do however have to say that Olga Zubova’s jerks are to die for.

What friendships has this sport brought your way?

This sport introduced me to the people and friends that I know now which I am really close to. It is never a daunting day with the friends I have in weightlifting for they are very supportive, very funny and very energetic.

Are you coachable?

This a very funny question to ask but gladly I am very coachable. That would be a nightmare for my coach if I wasn’t.

What qualities do great coaches possess?

Great coaches are leaders that guides and empowers their athletes, so of course they should have the quality of leadership and also knowledge for they must know the sport they are teaching. Other qualities great coaches possess are effective communication skills, consistency and knowing the athlete for they have to be aware of their individual difference from other athletes because some coaching tactics work on some while on others it doesn’t.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?  Did you take it?

“The only person that should have more faith and belief in the things you do is not your coach or your parents but yourself.” These were the words spoken to me by Kevin Doherty and it has really stuck with me and I did take that advice. No one else should have more faith in me then myself for if I lack faith in myself then why am I lifting? Others shouldn’t have  to believe and hope of things that I know I can do  and end up empty handed because I lacked confidence. It should be myself that wants it more than anyone.

What characteristics do you strive for (on and off the platform)?

Being humble, optimistic and confident.

If you gave everything that you owned away except three things, what would you keep?

My wallet, phone and my mom’s necklace

When you have random free time, how do you spend it?

I watch Netflix, read a book, swim or sleep.

If you could master anything (besides weightlifting), what would it be?

I would want to master all the languages that has ever existed and will exist in the universe.

What have you learned from weightlifting that helps you in other parts of your life?

I learned that it takes a lot of patience and time lifting and it has really helped me out be more patient towards my siblings and be a better sister.

The last time you were knocked down (or discouraged) in this sport, how did you get back up?

Eating a lot of ice cream and keeping my head held high no matter what happened really helped me during my discouraged times.

What are you most grateful for?

I am most grateful for my mom and dad because I love them so much for they are everything in my life.

Where does your strength come from?

I think my strength comes from the people that are very supportive and encouraging towards me because it makes me work hard and be strong in the things that I do so I won’t disappoint.

What are your weightlifting goals?

Being the best weightlifter I can be.

Enjoying the ride.

Photos by Gene Crain, Lifting Life.

Kyle Martin, Jr. – July 2017 Featured Athlete

Please let us introduce you to our July 2017 featured athlete: Kyle Martin, Jr.  Kyle is ten years old youth weightlifter competing in the 44 kg weight class and is from Oley, PA.

When did you get started in this sport?

At age 8

What (or who) got you started?

I would go to the gym with my dad and climb the rope until I watched Dane Miller’s niece compete online at youth nationals in 2015. The next day I started training Olympic lifting to get ready for the 2016 youth nationals.

What do you enjoy most about weightlifting?

I like the competitions and hanging out with my teammates at Garage Strength.

What does your current training routine look like?

I train 1-2 hours per day when I am not playing baseball or wrestling. I train at Garage Strength under the supervision of my coaches Dane Miller, Jacob Horst, and DJ Shuttleworth.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that has been impactful?

I always listen to my coaches and do lot of squats to help improve my clean and jerk.

What do you carry around with you in your gym bag that has nothing to do with weightlifting?

Nothing. Dane Miller will not let me bring iPads or toys into the gym.

What is your diet like?

Cereal in the morning, protein and pasta for lunch, and chicken or PB&J for dinner. Dane does not like it when I eat a lot of sugar.

Who do you look up to in the sport?

Jenny Arthur

Why?

I have meet Jenny a couple times during training. She has always been inspiring and helpful when we have meet. I like watching her and other weightlifters compete online.

What friendships has this sport brought your way?

At meets I see a lot of familiar faces and we get to support each other. I also train with Connor Pennington, 12u lifter, we help push each other to new PRs.

Are you coachable?

Yes. I learned how to take direction from my coaches at a young age when I was in Karate.

What are your long term weightlifting goals?

I want to make a world team and represent the United States! I also want to continue to train  to improve my performance in other sports like baseball and wrestling.

What qualities do great coaches possess?

Patience. My coaches are patient and teach me how to lift with good technique even when I am not having my best day on the platform.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Learn how to lose.

Did you take it?

Yes. I’ve learned winning is fun but not the most important thing about training and competing. My main focus is on learning good form and technique first before winning. Learning how to lose is just as important as winning.

What characteristics do you strive for (on and off the platform)?

I always try to do my best and focus on my form and technique.

When you have random free time, how do you spend it?

Most of my time is spent at school, training at Garage Strength, or playing baseball or wrestling. My free time is spent catching up on homework and playing Minecraft.

If you could master anything (besides weightlifting), what would it be?

To be a great baseball player.

What have you learned from weightlifting that helps you in other parts of your life?

Weightlifting helps me become a better athlete and to do better in other sports. My strength training has help me with wrestling.

What are you most grateful for?

My family for supporting me with weightlifting and taking me to my meets.

Where does your strength come from?

From the awesome programming of my coach Dane Miller and not my Dad 😊

In the Shoes of an Olympian

Youth Weightlifting Abby Flickner Interview

Abby Flickner, of Shawnee Kansas is your typical 13-year old girl. She loves to read, play the trumpet, and train in weightlifting shoes given to her by Olympian Morghan King. Ok, Abby is not so typical. She has been weightlifting since she was six-years old, has her own athletic clothing line, and holds three Youth American Records. Here is a glimpse into her life . . .

Q: How did you get started in weightlifting?

A: My older brother had been weightlifting for a while, and I thought it would help me get stronger for gymnastics. Eventually, I gave up my other sports—gymnastics, softball, and volleyball to focus exclusively on weightlifting.

Q: What do you enjoy most about weightlifting?

A: Weightlifting offers some good life lessons. If you don’t focus on your lift, it won’t be very good. Similarly, if you don’t focus on homework, you won’t get a good grade. And if you don’t focus on the task at hand, you won’t succeed.

Q: What does your training schedule look like?

A: I train two hours per day, six days a week with my coach, Boris Urman, at Bootcamp Fitness.

Q: What one or two things do you do in training that are particularly impactful?

A: Squats and lower back training! It’s easy to get a heavy barbell off the floor, but you have to have strong legs and a strong core to stand up with it.

Q: What do you carry around in your gym bag that has nothing to do with weightlifting?

A: Candy

Q: What is your diet like?

A: I try to eat as much as I can to move up a weight class. I eat lots of protein, fruit and veggies. I usually eat two suppers, one before gym and one after. I also like to eat candy!

Q: Who do you look up to in the sport?

A: Morghan King. She accomplished a lot in a very short amount of time, and she has been supportive of my lifting. She gave me the shoes I wear in training!

Q: What qualities does a great coach possess?

A: A great coach isn’t afraid to tell you what you’ve done wrong. Weight-lifting can be a dangerous sport if you don’t do it correctly.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

A: Don’t worry about what weight is on the bar . . . just lift it.

Q: Did you take this advice?

A: I try, but it’s hard not to think about the weight.

Q: When you are not weightlifting, how do you spend your free time?

A: I like to read, ride my bike and play the trumpet. I would also like to learn how to cook.

Q: When was the last time you were knocked down and how did you get back up?

A: Youth Nationals in 2016. It was the first time I had been beaten in three years. I’m still in the process of recovering, but I’ve made progress.

Q: What have you learned from weightlifting that helps you in other parts of your life?

A: Anything you want to achieve requires hard work and a good mindset.

Q: Where does your strength come from?

A: Some of it comes naturally, but mostly it comes from training hard.