Power-lifting competitions have taken Levi Hoffman to a variety of locations, including Alabama, Texas and Colorado. But all of those were just a warm-up for what awaits him in September.
After his success at the national USA Powerlifting tournament last month, the recent Morenci graduate got a call about another level of competition.
Hoffman was in Nashville at the national convention of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) when he got a call from Joe Lewis, the coach of the American team that would compete in the international power-lifting meet.
Lewis chose Hoffman as one of the 10 lifters who would represent the United States in the sub-junior class for 14- to 18-year-olds.
It didn’t take Hoffman long to decide: “I’m not missing this opportunity,” he told himself.
The lifters will meet in Sao Paula, Brazil, to face off against athletes from around the world.
“I’m pretty excited,” Hoffman said. “Not too many people get the opportunity to represent their country.”
The competition is scheduled Sept. 4-15 and somewhere in the middle of that block is when his 181-pound division will take to the stage.
The Russian and Ukrainian lifters often finish on top, Hoffman said, but it’s American athlete who is expected to win at 181 and, no, it’s not Hoffman. Instead it’s an impressive 15-year-old who demolished records at this year’s national meet.
Hoffman has never come close to matching the international records, but that doesn’t mean he won’t finish high on the list. Competing at this level requires a new level of finesse.
“The judges are harder and more intense,” Hoffman said. “They’re very strict. There’s no leniency. It’s very easy to scratch out.”
Movement of the bar is watched very carefully, for example, and the unevenness of the bar during a lift could nullify the attempt. The discipline needed to produce good technique will be more of a factor than in any past competitions.
“If I can get three squats in [without a scratch], I should do well,” he said.
His coach believes a third or fourth place finish is a good possibility. That sounds good to Hoffman, but that would just be a bonus.
“I’m just happy that I get to go,” he said.
Hoffman’s next project is to solicit donations to help with the cost of the event. By the time the competition rolls around, he will be a student at Adrian College.