USA Powerlifting Texas


The Best Time of My Life Brazil 2009 By: Adriana DaCosta

After a short 9 hour flight from Houston, the USA Junior Team arrived at Sao Paulo, where we waited for what seemed like forever to get on our plane to the city of Ribeirao Preto. The flight to the city of Ribeirao Preto was on one of those small jet planes that just makes a person nervous. After a small snag with someone’s luggage having to be boarded on a different flight, we boarded the plane on our way to Ribeirao. We landed at a small airport in a gloomy and rainy city, the likes of something you would see in a movie, the backdrop was a scenic mountain, and you could almost picture a wild chicken or animal walking by the plane as we stepped down the stairs for the walk from the airplane to the airport.

A short 10 minute drive on a small car and a small shuttle bus got us to one of the best hotels, I have ever been to, its beauty masked by the rain. The hotel was like its own small city, encircled in a large cement fence, the looks of perhaps an old army compound.  A guard tower welcomed us on our path from the lobby to our rooms. The room was very spacious; a quick tour of the facility led us to the three pools, one of which had the cutest Tiki bar, the soccer fields, and the many halls, one of which would be the place of many world records. I woke up early Monday morning to test out the scale and to have what would be a fantastic free breakfast. The Opening Ceremony at Junior Worlds displayed the martial art of Capoiera, as well as two ambassadors from each team. The lifting began, with three members of Texas making their debut on the world stage: Melissa Vongsovanh, Andrea Gonzales, and Tyler Garcia. In some tough weight classes both Melissa V. and Andrea were both able to capture a fourth place finish and bronze and silver in the deadlift, respectively. Tyler was able to capture the silver in the Sub Juniors division and received gold in the bench.

The next member of Texas to lift was I, having a previous world competition under my belt helped ease some of my nerves but not by much. That morning I woke up early to check my weight, I was about 59.4 kg, being the worry freak that I am, I chose to skip out on breakfast and stayed in my room watching an old Steven Seagal movie that was showing on TV. I get to equipment check-in a little early, since the previous day they decided to start everything 15 minutes earlier than they were supposed to. I was one of the first to get all my equipment checked in, which ended up being a little chaotic, thank god for David being there with me and making sure that all my things went back in my bag.  I was about half way down the list of competitors for weigh in, so I sat down next to the door and waited a little impatiently for them to call out my name to go into the weigh-in room, all while causing a ruckus with the Russians as I tried to figure out how to say backpack in Russian. After what seemed like the longest wait of my life, which always is when you’re hungry, they finally called my name to go in. David followed me in to help me weigh-in and give them my opening attempts. The final scale check came at a light 58.9kg, perfect, as I wanted to be on the lighter side just in case that it would come down to body weight. Immediately after weighing in, I drank my normal meet food of a can of soup, Pedialyte, bagels, and Gatorade. I began warming up, as nervous as I was I had a little difficulty with my warms ups, as I would come up on my toes and hit depth a little high due, all these factors began to make me even more nervous about lifting. Thankfully, I had David there to assure me that it was just nerves and I would kill my opener.

First lifter gets called to the platform and my nerves still had not subsided, I sat there listening to my IPod waiting for Dave to start wrapping me for my first attempt. Then it’s time, the announcer speaks into the mic “bars loaded for Adriana DaCosta with 145kgs”, I briskly walk up to the bar, wait for the commands and kill my attempt, which made all my butterflies go away. Dave and Magendie load up what would be a 5kg PR on my second attempt at 155kgs; with no hesitation I walked up to the bar and killed my second attempt. In the distance I hear Curt yell go big! And big they went giving me a 12.5kg jump on my 3rd attempt. I went up to the bar and squatted the biggest squat of my life, 167.5kgs, which ended up being turned down 2 to 1 on depth, despite an appeal to the jury. Heavy hearted I walked off the platform knowing I had given it my all, my second attempt squat was good enough to put me in 4th.

I began warming up for bench, my least favorite of the three lifts, after a short break after squat. I killed my warm ups, but was still nervous about it, as I have always struggled with bench in training. First attempt of 75kgs gets loaded, good lift, second attempt gets loaded at 80kgs, good lift, despite some pretty bad hand offs and my attempts at communicating with the spotter. Dave like the good coach he is, goes up to the scorer’s table and lowers my rack height in hopes that the spotter will hand it off better on my third attempt. I stand up and look at the screen to see where I am in terms of placing, 4th place, one of the girls that was ahead of me was about to bomb with 82.5kgs on bench, I see her getting ready for her attempt by having her shirt pulled all the way down, she gets called to lift and makes it. I look at the screen and realize my deadlift is way lower than these girls and really pray that I just get one medal in an individual event. My name gets called, while Dave adjusts my shirt and tells me “you have to get this lift”. Bars loaded with 85kgs, I go up to the bar, the spotter hands the bar to me a little better than before and I manage to pull my shoulders back and get more of that arch that I’m used to benching with, I pull it down to my chest, push it up a little easier than my second, finish the lift and hear the announcer say good lift. I smile at the thought of having another PR under my belt, the bench puts me in 3rd place on bench, and the next lifter is a Japenese lifter trying for 90kgs to get 2nd in the bench and an attempt that would bump me down to 4th. I watch the screen as the lifter goes and wait in hopes of hearing no lift as I knew that my chances of being on the podium overall were slim. The announcer says “no lift” and David kisses me on the cheek and tells me that I had just gotten a bench medal at worlds, I then thank God for skipping breakfast that morning and being lighter.

I moved onto deadlift, hesitantly, as the pain that I had been feeling in my back all morning became worse. I warmed up for deadlift, normally my favorite lift of the meet, the pain had become so bad that I could not even sit down. My name gets called to do my opener of 147.5kgs; I do it very easily, despite the pain. Magendie and David gave me 10kgs in hopes of catching up to the lifters in the top 3. I stood by my chair waiting for my second attempt as David rubbed more icyhot on my back and reminds me that I just have two more. It’s once again my turn to lift, I get to the platform, lift 157.5kgs a little past my knees when my back begins to shoot in pain, and the bar falls to the floor. I left the platform, took off my suit with Dave’s help, and told him I was done for the day. Everyone finished lifting a little passed the time so they moved the award ceremony until after the last flight of the day. As tired, hungry, and in pain as I was I left the venue to shower and get something to eat. Unfortunately, the flight ended sooner than I anticipated and I missed being able to get on the podium for my bronze bench medal.

 The next Texas lifter to hit the platform was Dustin Witte, another veteran on the team. Dustin competed in one of the hardest and most competitive weight classes of the whole competition. He finished the day with a 320kgs squat on his second attempt, giving him 4th in the squat, after a heck of a try at 327.5kgs on his third attempt with Justin Walker’s belt, after breaking the latch on his belt right before getting underneath the bar. He followed up a good squat with a PR bench of 182.5kgs, and finished the day off with a 292.5kgs deadlift. The same day the world saw a newbie hit the platform and excel, as Stephanie King went 7 for 9 in the 165’s after moving up a weight class. Stephanie grabbed a third place medal in the squat and topped the podium on deadlift with a first place, rounding out the day with a second place finish overall. Lastly for Texas, was Tiffany Mckinney hitting the platform in the 90kg weight class. Tiffany hit a PR squat of 212.5kgs giving her a second place in the squat. Unfortunately, Tiffany wasn’t able to get any of her benches passed that day, but she came back to the platform to hit a 3rd place deadlift. Overall the world saw some great lifting by the members of USAPL Texas.

 That night I organized an outing for most of Team USA’s juniors to go out and eat at one of Ribeirao’s better Churrascarias. The team had a great night tasting different meats at this all you can eat Brazilian steak house. The servers came by one by one and sliced all these different meats right in front of your plate, it was definitely dinning to die for especially for a powerlifter. Saturday rolled around too soon for us, finally the last day of lifting and soon the banquet would hit us too; all leading to us having to go home which is always a bitter sweet feeling. The banquet was conveniently located on the premises of the hotel in one of their bigger meeting rooms. We all lined up outside and talked until they opened the doors to the room. One by one we gave the concierge our banquet tickets and claimed a table for us to sit in.

They began the banquet by having Gaston speak a few words and announce the team awards. USA came home with a first place in the women’s Sub JR, a second in the men’s Sub JRs, a second place in the women’s JR team (next to Russia once again), and a third place finish for the men’s JR team. They began to lay out the food very nicely in on the tables to our left, as Gaston announced the best lifters of the meet. All awaited in anticipation for his speech to end, finally, after what seemed like an eternity of Gaston speaking, he concluded with let us eat. At which point all powerlifters stampeded over towards the food like a herd of cattle, quite the amusing sight I’m sure to any onlooker. The food was great, even better was the free beer they served. The servers constantly made their way around the tables taking the empty bottles and leaving the table with a new bottle full of beer. They began play music, that well, everyone but most of the US members knew.  The festivities became more enlivened with the sound of a Brazilian drum line.  At the front of the crowd, you could see the Russians dancing, a bit out of beat but yet having a great time, surprisingly though because the whole meet you’d see most of them with a very serious look on their faces, one would almost say a scowl. To the right were the Brazilians enjoying their native music. The infectious beat of the Brazilian drums, led myself and another team member to join the Brazilian team and try to learn a little of the dance moves that they were doing. Could be some of the beer or it could be that I have just powerlifted for far too long but I had no such luck moving as they did. The night passed too quickly and before we knew it the banquet was over, we headed to the pool area where there were several countries mingling with one another. The rest of the night we spent speaking to the few Russians that knew English, heck even with some that didn’t, as I had been eager to try out the little Russian I had learned. Morning approached far too quickly and we made our way to our last breakfast buffet and waited until it was our time to leave this fabulous place.

The downhill part of the trip began soon after we arrived at the airport; our flight had been delayed for some reason or another after having been told that it was on time. As the plane began to pull out of the runway, we found ourselves confused with the fact that we were moving, yet our luggage was being pulled away from the plane. Oh well, we waved good bye to our luggage and hoped that it would arrive in Sao Paulo before we boarded on our flight back to the USA.  In Sao Paulo we found out that our luggage would not make it in time for our 9:15pm flight out of the country. Some of us loaded the plane back to the states with but a purse or a small backpack with maybe one change of clothes, as most of the bags heavier than 5kgs had to be checked, regardless of being a carry on or not. After landing, we proceeded to go to baggage claim to see if for some miracle our bags had made it, but no luck. We soon said our goodbyes to the people that had to leave to catch their flights to their cities. I’d say it was one of the hardest parts of the trip. All of us made it safely back to our towns, with most of us having a hard time readjusting to a life without Brazil, and without luggage that is for a while.

I’d like to Thank all the coaching staff for all their support and help at the meet. Especially to David for being the best and for having the patience to coach me. 🙂
Adriana J. Da Costa

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