An Airman stepped onto the platform, hands at his side, ready. He closes his eyes, blocked out all distractions and focused on the task at hand. Once he’s chalked up and squats down, the gun goes off.
Staff Sgt. David Labrie, 612th Support Squadron lead meteorologist, participated in the 2014 National Powerlifting Competition, which was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 27.
Powerlifting is a strength sport that consists of three attempts at maximal weight on three different lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. The only types of authorized lifts that can be performed are the equipped or un-equipped, which is typically referred to as raw or classic style of lifting.
“I fell in love with the idea of power lifting in high school when I first began training for the high school football team,” said Staff Sgt. David Labrie, 612th Support Squadron lead meteorologist. “It takes a lot of mental and physical determination to be successful.”
During training, Labrie and his team worked on strength and endurance depending on their overall health and work schedules. The team helped and supported each other all the way through until it was time for nationals. Labrie was surprised to see that he had more supporters than he knew of, one of which was his flight supervisor.
“I believe to be an effective leader, you need to take a vested interest in how your Airmen live outside the blue,” said Master Sgt. Joseph Andrukaitis, 162nd Weather Flight NCO in charge. “Being a part of a team, you are always showing support for one another. Even though we are not in the same chain of command, I feel it is nice for supervisors to show an interest in Airman’s outside interests.”
As the competition started, Labrie detached himself from everyone, closed his eyes and mentally pictured himself lifting the proposed weight.
“It’s like tunnel vision almost, I completely separate myself from the world and mentally prepare for what I’m about to do,” said Labrie.
Throughout the competition, each competitor is allowed multiple attempts on each lift depending on their weight class. The contenders are judged against other lifters of the same gender, age and weight class.
“I put my entire being into becoming stronger and I actually did better than I ever expected,” said the meteorologist.
Labrie came in second place and broke three of Arizona’s state records. He broke the deadlift record with 722 pounds, squat record 556 pounds and beat the overall record with a total score of 1658 pounds.