Guest post from Logan Griffith
While many 14-15 year old boys were enjoying their school vacation, w.o.d.welder Athlete Logan Griffith spent most of his month of June preparing for the Youth Weightlifting Nationals. With personal goals of not only collecting Gold for the event, Logan set out to break the American record for both the Snatch and Clean and Jerk as a 44kg lifter.
We asked him to share his Youth Nationals experience with us. While we are already well aware of the spectacular athlete Logan is, it is our goal to help spread the word of this young man's dedication to his sport. Please enjoy what Logan had to say below, and take the time to check him out on Instagram @logangriff.
"Youth Nationals was a complete roller coaster of events from the very beginning to the last moments. Before I was even in Minnesota things like my WodWelder lotion had to be thrown away because according to airport security it was dangerous, I saw Crossfit games athlete Ben Smith, and I had to switch seats on my first plane because they put me in an exit row. As you can see, my first day out was not what you could call “fun”.
The second day (First day I was in Minnesota) was a blast. I woke up at about 7:30 to the sounds of people outside of my room dancing and yelling because my room was conveniently placed right next to a Dance Dance Revolution setup. I got up to go lift in the training hall which I thought was open because the night before I saw people lifting but found out that it didn't open till Thursday. I ended up having to take a cab with my coach to the offsite training facility which was absolutely packed with lifters. I ended up getting extremely lucky and was able to snag a spot right when I got there to start my lifting session. I remember looking over at all the other people there putting up so much more weight than I was and thinking “What am I doing here?” That thought completely disappeared when I started talking to some of the other athletes lifting near me and found that some of them had just as much of that feeling as I did. I left the gym that day oddly satisfied, not only because I felt a little more comfortable but also because I felt amazing with my lifts. For the rest of the day I ended up taking it easy in my room and went out to dinner at the local Fridays which I have to say was delicious.
Thursday started out exactly like Wednesday, loud people breaking it down on dance Dance Revolution once again woke me up at 7:30. I attended the training hall at around 11 that day to find out again to my huge surprise…it’s packed with even more people than the offsite facility the day before. It took me about 20 minutes of waiting to grab a platform and begin lifting with another athlete. I felt amazing during that session and also got to meet another athlete as well as get used to the setting. I finished lifting at around 12:00 and spent an hour or two in my room resting before I went back to the lobby to sign in and grab a seat for a seminar hosted by Head coach Zygmunt, Mattie Rodgers, and Erin Amos. I learned a ton during the seminar that helped me during my lifting on Friday and that I use regularly in my training now such as the foot placement in a split jerk. Shortly after the seminar, I found myself at the Mall Of America watching the new movie “Jurassic World”. After that, I ate at a Hard Rock Café which was amazing to end out the day
I woke up Friday pleasantly surprised that this time it wasn't due to the familiar thumping of music outside I had become used to over the past couple days. I made sure to prep for lifting which included shaving my hands with pumice and listening to my classic rock playlist. I got up and left my room at 11 to go cheer on my fellow athletes and watch amazing lifters throw down. I weighed in at 5pm, now this is the bulk of the story that leads into my main obstacles. The gentlemen who called me in to weigh in said I was “too light” for the 44kg class when I weighed in at 43.2, he stated that I had to be over 44kg to qualify as a 44. He quickly realized his mistake which was no real problem at all, I left and everything was good. I entered the training center at 6 to prepare for my session and for the athlete introduction. The main thing that I remembered when I was introduced is that no one cheered except my father and brother and the official who said my name said I was lifting out of Nevada which is completely wrong but I get it, mistakes happen. I left the stage and while I was warming up my coach came over to me with shocking news. Since I am a smaller athlete, I train on a 15kg bar which is more commonly known as a women’s bar. My coach said that an official spoke to him and said that I am only allowed to lift on a 20kg bar and to all of you that have felt the diameter difference between a women’s and men’s bar, you know its huge. My heart dropped in my stomach and immediately I began to doubt myself and my planned American record performance. I got the 20kg bar in my hands and naturally, it felt extremely awkward. The only thing that I believe helped me from bombing out in my lifts is the sharp knurl of the Eleiko bars helped me be a better grip. My coach and I made the ultimate decision to lower my snatch from 48kg to 46kg to make sure that a bomb out wasn't in my future. I walked out on the stage and chalked my hands more than usual to make sure my grip on the fatter bar didn't slip. Turns out, I didn’t need the grip on the first snatch because I missed it in front of me completely…big mistake. I walked back onto the stage for a second time for the same weight and nailed it and a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders for the first time during the competition. After I lifted, I walked back to the hall and asked an official what the 44kg snatch record was. I was falsely informed that the record was 50kg which was the reason for my 51kg snatch attempt. I walked back onstage for the 51kg snatch and nail it but when I am back in the hall the same person that told me the record was 50kg hands my coach and I a slip of paper that states the record was 53kg…I know that mistakes happen but things like that is why people say USAW is extremely unorganized. I was so disappointed but I was happy that I was able to get a 51kg snatch on the competition platform so I shrugged it off in preparation for my clean and jerks. My first attempt felt amazing and 66kg went up as easily as I did in the warm up room. I declared my second attempt of 73kg which was an American record attempt. I got out on the floor and nailed it, it was a PR tying clean and jerk and I was finally able to get it in competition. I declared my third attempt of 75kg because if I was able to lift it I would snag the American record total in my weight class which was 125kg and a successful 75kg clean and jerk would land me at 126kg. As I am sure you know, I missed the jerk on my lift which was slightly in front of me but I was still extremely happy with my performance.
The last real experience I had at nationals was at the medal ceremony. I got to meet amazing athletes such as Ulyssess Yarbrough who was in the 50kg class and ended up swiping silver. When my name was called up for the medals my coach went and told the announcer that my clean and jerk was an American record and he stated “Oh, I had no idea! All the referees that know stuff like this already went home.” After the award ceremony, I was ready for a break and started the long trek back home. Thanks for all of your support, I couldn't have done it without you!"