JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It's a sport whose participants often toil in obscurity. Outside of the Olympics, few beyond the sport's competitors take note of the accomplishments of powerlifters. In the 36 years since the organization's founding, USA Powerlifting has worked to support lifters.
Until this month, it had never held an event in Jacksonville.
Distinct from weightlifting, the style featured in the Olympics, a sport made up of two lifts: the Snatch and the clean-and-jerk, where the weight is lifted above the head, powerlifting comprises three lifts: the squat, bench press and deadlift. Powerlifting competitions may be comprised of one, two or all three of the lifting disciplines.
USA Powerlifting, formerly American Drug Free Powerlifting Association Inc., held an event in Jacksonville for the first time, the North Florida Open Championships.
In the course of the event, over 50 state records were set, including an amazing 24 by Susan Paxon, 65, of Jacksonville. Paxson is a local referee and athlete who was a driving force in bringing the event to Jacksonville.
With the assistance of volunteers from the Exercise Science Student Association from the University of North Florida, the event was a success, and according to USA Powerlifting-Florida Chairman Robert Keller, an occurrence "long overdue, I would say."
Among other record-setters at the event, 71-year-old Bob Evans, who broke eight state records, including a bench press of 330 pounds.
Twelve state records were broken by 17-year-old Brianna Morrison, a gold medalist at the World Championships in June. Morrison is a student at Pedro Menendez High School.