No burden too heavy for weightlifter

David Pleyel

Victory and success in sports isn’t defined by simply winning or losing. It is defined by effort and passion. If an individual can walk into any situation and come out knowing they did their best, that individual is a winner regardless of the outcome.

USOEC sophomore weightlifter Chris Lenahen exemplifies the passion and integrity that makes him the successful weightlifter that he is today. Lenahen said that it never felt like a chore or obligation but rather an honor and passion to lift weights.

“This is a part of my life and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else but this,” Lenahen said. “To think of how this sport has taught me a lot of valuable lessons in life and helped me set personal goals is pretty amazing. I only hope that one day I can give back to this sport and teach others who are passionate about it.”

Weightlifting since the eighth grade, Lenahen took a quick admiration to the sport after he was introduced to it by his mentor Jesse Reynolds. Lenahen enjoyed working with Reynolds as the two trained together throughout high school. Lenahen said that the reason he grew to love the sport so quickly was because of the results it showed.

“You know when you’re getting better in weightlifting and when you need to pick up the pace because you can actually see the results,” Lenahen said. Nothing boosts your confidence more than being able to lift more weight than before. It just shows that you’re doing something right and you need to stick with it.”

Although life as a weightlifter has been good to Lenahen, it hasn’t always been the best of times. Lenahen said that his dreams were almost over before they even began.

“I remember a few days before coming up to NMU for my orientation, I was training back home in Florida and I had torn my ACL,” Lenahen said. “I was devastated. I thought that all my hard work and all my preparation to get into the USOEC was over before it was started. At that point I didn’t even want to go to NMU anymore.”

Lenahen decided to still go to the orientation, crutches and all, and wanted to see what he would be missing out on if he decided not to attend NMU. He decided to give it his best shot regardless of his situation.

He returned home to Florida to have surgery and shortly came back to NMU where he began his long, extensive rehab. Lenahen said that it was disheartening to be a part of the USOEC and not able to perform at peak condition, but that only motivated him to work harder and focus on the task at hand.

“It really got to me at first only being able to do my rehab training while I saw these talented athletes around me just dominate their workout routines,” Lenahen said. “I knew my rehab was going to take time, but I was there for a reason and I wanted to show everyone why I was there. Overall, that experience really taught me the meaning of being humble.”

After a long, grueling seven months, Lenahen continued to train hard and by the time he was at 100 percent, the 2010 National Collegiate Championships had arrived. The championship not only signified Lenahen’s strong return to weightlifting but the end of his rehab.

“I was nervous when the Collegiate Championships had arrived but I knew I was prepared,” Lenahen said. “I went in there and gave it my all and when I found out I had won the competition and a gold medal, words couldn’t describe how I felt. All I knew was, that signified the end of my rehab once and for all.”

Lenahen continues to be a part of the USOEC weightlifting team. Having only two more years to go until he graduates, he remains focused not only on weights but also in his studies. Living by the motto, “Luck is when opportunity meets preparation” he hopes to one day be a World Team Member and show the world that when you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.