Rio Replay: Men's +105kg Weightlifting Final



How to get gold medal lifting power

On July 1, 2010, Staff Sergeant Michael Yule was two months into a tour of Afghanistan. As a Search Advisor with the Royal Engineers, his job was to find and clear bombs. That day, a Thursday, he stood on a pressure plate IED. He was conscious throughout the immediate first aid after the explosion. Seeing all the blood flow out, he later recalled, was like “watching your life drain away.”

On August 2, 2014, Micky Yule, from Musselburgh, just along the coast from Edinburgh, is competing for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in para-powerlifting, heavyweight category. Para-powerlifting is a bench press. Yule, with no lower legs, shuffles out of his wheelchair onto the bench, to which his upper legs are then strapped. A few seconds later, he lifts 177kg. It’s good enough for fourth place.

(Related: The man who fought off death to get in the best shape of his life)

“I tore my pec five weeks before the Games,” Yule says. “Sounds strange, because I’d been blown up, but I’d never had an injury in that way. It ruined for me something that should have been brilliant.” Failing to medal on home soil was a disappointment, but one that’s driving him towards bigger things next year. “The Rio Olympics qualifying period finishes in February 2019,” he says. “I’ve got three competitions on three continents. That’s it. Three lifts per comp, nine lifts in total. Each one lasts two seconds. I’ve got 18 seconds to change my life.”

Lifting was not new to Yule: he had been a member of the Army’s powerlifting team. “In the Army, I used to think I was pushing myself hard and leading a clean life. I look back now and think, how was I even achieving what I was? In my head I was pushing myself, but now I can lift, 20, 30kg more than I was lifting before.”

Yet, in 2011, when he had recovered sufficiently from his injury to think about para-sport, as part of his rehab programme with Help for Heroes, lifting weights was the last thing on his mind. “I got the opportunity to try a lot of para-sport, but because of how I am, I didn’t want to go into something like archery or fencing. But I couldn’t squat, I couldn’t deadlift – I couldn’t see how I would powerlift.”

Today, Yule does not lack confidence or motivation, and he has the physical tools to go with the mental fortitude. Yule couldn’t have won gold in Glasgow – Commonwealth heavyweight para-powerlifting has no upper weight limit, so he’s competing against much bigger men. But his PB of 188kg, set just before his pec tear, would have given him silver. And Rio later this year? After recently qualifing, he's now one of Team GB's gold medal hopes.

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But he’s not twiddling his fingers until he gets on the plane to Rio. Yule just took gold at the 2019 Invictus Games with a personal best lift of 190kg.

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Yule, we salute you.






Video: Matthias Steiner Shares his Emotional Beijing 2008 Weightlifting Gold | Olympic Rewind

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Date: 18.12.2018, 13:20 / Views: 61364