Woltman gets a lift from lifting

June 30, 1999

Shawn WoltmanBy BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

Shawn Woltman has a strange way of kicking back.

He chills out by lifting 1,700 pounds.

To most, picking up more than three-quarters of a ton is a distant second to a reclining chair and a glass of lemonade. But to Woltman, it's a case of taking it easy while winning national titles.

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Woltman was able to accomplish both goals last weekend when he won the world championship of heavyweight elite amateur division in the International Powerlifting Association competition in York, Pa.


"This is my hobby," Woltman said during his workout Tuesday at Fitness Priority. "It's relaxing, but I love the intensity of it and the adrenalin rush. By the time it's all done, I'm relaxed."

The road to relaxation took a little work and a lot of patience for Woltman. The 31-year-old Hagerstown resident overcame the waiting game and some scheduling snafus to put together his three winning lifts - a 500-pound bench press, followed by 600 more in a squat and 600 pounds in a deadlift. The competition allowed three attempts in each discipline to accumulate the best weight total.

"I started conservatively, just to get on the board," said Woltman. "I benched 415 to start, squatted 475 and did 500 in the dead and just did little jumps to make sure I got there."

Getting there was part of the problem.

Woltman first went to York to compete in a strongman competition - an Olympic-style series of lifting and pulling events similar to the show broadcast in late night on ESPN. He ended up in the powerlifting competition.

And to top it off, competition organizers placed Woltman in the wrong classification.

"I signed up in the amateur division, but they marked something wrong and made me an elite amateur. All the amateurs were tested for drugs ... I passed and was drug free."

Woltman won a bench press competition in Cumberland, Md., two weeks earlier in his first attempt at competitive weightlifting. The York competition was something completely new for Woltman.

"I had never combined all three lifts in one day before," Woltman said. "I sort of surprised myself because I didn't know the outcome of it all until they gave out the awards."

The victory is just a start for Woltman. He plans to participate in the IPA Beast of the Beach competition in September. Until then, Woltman plans relax some more.

"By the end of the day, I was so beat. I was numb ... but I wasn't too beat to carry the trophy, though," he said with a smile.

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