By DAVID GREEN
Levi Hoffman was pleased with his own efforts, but he was truly amazed by what he saw other power-lifters accomplish.
At the international competition last week in Sao Paulo, Brazil, he watched in awe as world record after world record was smashed.
After winning a national title last June in Denver at the USA Powerlifting tournament, Hoffman—then a recent Morenci graduate—was invited to join the American national team that would compete in Brazil in September. He would be one of 10 American lifters in the sub-junior class for 14- to 18-year-olds.
Eastern European lifters frequently come through as the champions, but Hoffman was pretty sure who would win his 82.5 kilogram (181 pound) division. It would be the 15-year-old U.S. lifter who established records at the Denver meet.
“I got beat out by the American kid who I said would beat me,” Hoffman said after returning home this week, but that lifter wasn’t the champion, either.
It was a Swedish lifter who surprised everyone, and perhaps even himself. He qualified with a total lift score of about 1,600 pounds, Hoffman said, but he left the tournament with a score around 1,800 pounds.
An instant world champion.
There was another surprise in the girls 132-pound division. A Michigan lifter was expected to keep her title, but a Fillipino girl got in the way of that plan.
Hoffman was pleased with his third-place finish in a field of 17 lifters. One squat and one bench attempt were nullified on technicalities and his scores were below par for him: 518 in the squat and 334 for the bench.
He got in all three of his dead lifts attempts and finished with what he calls a respectable 540.
The Swedish lifter (a skinny blonde kid, Hoffman says) set world records in the squat and in total score.
Three world champions rose from the boys competition and five from the girls.
The U.S. team overall finished second to the Russians.
“We had two or three chances to win,” he said, “but we kept getting second places. One first place would have lifted us into first.”
Competitors came from 35 countries.
“It was really cool,” Hoffman said. “I hung out with everybody. We hung out with the Russians a lot.”
Hoffman is back at Adrian College after missing a few days of classes, but he says he’s not too far behind.
When he wasn’t lifting and visiting his international group of new friends, he was doing homework.