This past weekend, I had a great opportunity from a friend Seong Hyun, who’s a CrossFitter from Seoul. He asked me to come with him to try our one rep maxes in Olympic Weightlifting (the Snatch and Clean and Jerk). I really didn’t know what I was getting into, but it turned out to be awesome.
This is Korea’s only National Sport University, and if you look here you can see they generate a good amount of World and Olympic Champions. Those weightlifters trained in this very same gym as me:
I showed up and was assigned a coach. He could speak some English, and he was also very young – 20 years old. But, he was close to being a world class lifter.
We started with the Snatch, and then moved into the Clean and Jerk. I’m relatively new to the Snatch, and in a little less than an hour, this guy taught me a lot. He also taught me I have a lot to work on (flexibility…?). We then did our 1 rep maxes.
I did well, tying my snatch PR (200lbs) and then getting a new PR on my Clean and Jerk at 270 lbs. I believe I have 275 no problem, but because they did it as a competition, I only had a chance at 3 lifts per movement.
This guy, Won Jeong Sik also helped coach my snatch a little bit, he placed 6th in the 69kg category at the World Championships in Paris a few weeks ago. Even though he weighs 40 lbs less than me, he can lift a lot, lot more (182kg in the Clean and Jerk, which is 400lbs – at a bodyweight of 150lbs).
Nice beard eh?
All in all, a great experience. I might be spending more and more weekends in Seoul over the next year.
This is one amazing place. If you’re ever in Gangwon-do on the East Coast and you love coffee, I really suggest you check out this place. You really won’t be disappointed.
Directions: Google Maps
I thought 6000 was a lot of views, but this is encouraging. I’m happy I’ve started the blog, although lately I haven’t been the best at updating it. There’ll be more soon, thanks for reading.
Korean’s are actually very, very curious about what turkey tastes like. Out of my 500 or so students, not a single one has tried turkey before.
We sometimes get so focused on what we’re doing and the things immediately around us, we don’t stop to stand back and look at the whole picture. I’m closing in on two years away from home, and at times I’m starting to call my place here in Korea “home”.
I’ve booked my flight home (to my real home) for the holidays, and now I have a light at the end of my tunnel. It’s almost a little hard to imagine what it will be like actually being there – I’m starting to forget what some people look like. I know there will also be changes everywhere, to things and people. I’ll be a bit of an outsider trying to get back into the swing of things – and after 4 weeks, I’ll just pack up and be off again.
People will generally ask the obvious question, “How’s Korea?”. I’ll likely have a very lame answer, because it’s not just a place I’ve quickly visited, it’s a place where I’ve made my temporary home. Only other expats will be able to truly understand it, but I wouldn’t really expect other people to. Everything’s different. Simple things can be a nightmare, and still certain things don’t make any sense.
While I haven’t seen my family for almost two years, I’ve made a new one here. My friends here in Samcheok are an amazing and diverse group of people, something unique that I can’t find anywhere else in the world. There’s Welsh, South Africans, Americans, English, Irish, Canadian and a Kiwi. I’ve had some of my closest friends leave in the last month or so, and it’s sad to realize we’ll never all be together again. That’s the life of an expat here in Korea.
I’ve spent 2 birthdays here now, but I won’t be spending a third. The time to go is quickly approaching. I hope I don’t seem negative, because I’m not trying to be. Living here in Korea has been a great experience, and it honestly forces you to learn a lot about yourself – like it or not. I’ve always said “if you don’t like it, change it”. I don’t feel like I have to leave yet, but it will happen soon enough.
My photos from the second weekend, you can click to enlarge:
Canadian Diane Roy, after winning the Gold Medal in the 800m.
I asked the professional Swedish photographer next to me what was so special about his enormous lens on his camera. He said "It takes very nice photos. Which it should for $20,000". He hooked my camera onto it, and this was the result. This girl was approximately 40 metres away.
Russia's Anna Chicherova, seconds before her Gold Medal leap in the women's high jump.
The emotion of a tight women's 100m hurdle final.
Women's 100m hurdles final.
And, the cute Aussie who won.
The moment Britain's Mo Farah took the lead in the 5000m final.
The U.S.'s 4x400 Gold Medal team. AND, the stupid Daegu mascot that every other photographer seemed to want to kill.
Usain Bolt, crossing the line in the fourth fastest 200m of all time.
After the race, Usain went to shake the hand of a Jamaican in the crowd behind me. To get there he had to climb over us, and me. Yep, he leaned on my shoulder.
Sam Effah, taking the start for Canada in the 4x100 relay. We didn't do great.
The U.S. Women's 4x100 team, World Champions.
Seconds after Usain Bolt and the Jamaican team broke the 4x100m World Record. Check the baton he threw into the air.
Usain Bolt dancing/being really awesome.
Michael Frater, Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Nesta Carter.
Usain receiving his Gold Medal for the 200m.
And now listening to his Nation's anthem. He was a complete show, before, during and after the race. Someone special to watch and experience.
After breaking a World Record, the athlete/team receives $100,000. They seem happy enough. This was the only record broken through 9 days of competition - a fitting way to end the championships.
An extremely satisfying end to the most amazing sports experience of my life.
As I mentioned last post, I’ve been lucky enough to be a photographer at the IAAF World Championships. Here are some of my best shots from an absolutely amazing first weekend.
- Oscar Pistorius of South Africa. He advanced to the semi-final, while also having the crowd cheering it’s loudest on this morning.
Women's 3000m Steeplechase.
Priscah Jepleting Cherono and Sally Kipyego, places 4 and 2 in the 10,000m final. This was right after the race, where the Kenyans took the top 4 spots. 3 Kenyan women took the top 3 spots in the mornings marathon as well, marking the best ever day for Kenyan women in athletics.
Sally seemed happy to see me.
The men’s 100m heats and finals.
Maurice Greene (former World Record holder, 1999-2003) and Tyson Gay (second fastest man of all time, 9.69). At this Press Confrence, they bet ₩100,000 on the winner. Gay took Bolt, and Greene took Yohan Blake.
Tyson Gay with staff members of the Jamaican Track Team.
Canadian Justyn Warner after Heat 1, qualifying for the semi-final.
Usain Bolt, at what seemed to be a jog, during his heat. He stopped running hard with 40 metres left.
Usain Bolt, after jogging to a 10.11 result. He is also incredibly tall in person.
There was a 60,000 person "gasp" as Usain Bolt false started before the 100m Final. This was the worst-case scenario. He beat himself. The IAAF rule change was implemented last year - one false start and you're done. It was pushed by the TV networks as false starts ruin their programming. It was tough to watch the 100m Final without Usian Bolt, and the TV networks cannot be happy with this. I expect to see a rule change again, as this was a complete mistake by the IAAF. They cannot risk having this happen in London next year.
Walter Dix, Silver Medalist.
Yohan Blake, the Men's 100m World Champion.