Barry Myers is still dominant at age 56 on the international scene
Honesdale native Barry Myers, 56, recently took first place in an international weightlifting competition.
Myers represented the United States in the 55-59 years old age division, and 152 lb. weight class.
He earned himself a gold medal by completing 4 of 5 lifts at the Pan American Weightlifting Championships (PAWC) held in Savannah GA.
The top 302 weightlifters from North, South, and Central America competed in the PAWC over a four day period from June 4-7.
In his first event, the snatch lift, (where the lifter takes the bar from the floor in a single overhead motion) Myers made lifts of 154 and 171 lbs. He missed closely on a third attempt of 190 lbs that if he had cleared, would've given him a new Masters Pan American record.
In the clean and jerk, (where the lifter brings the bar from the floor to his chest, and then after a pause thrusts the bar overhead) Myers made lifts of 187, 205, and 261 lbs.
His combined total of 388 lbs. was good enough to edge out his U.S. teammate Patrick Fetter for the win.
It was a victory sweetened by the fact that he had come up just short, earning a silver behind Canadian, Jaques Giasson at the 2014 PAWC.
Behind the Barbells
Barry is the son of Dr. Don and Elaine Myers of Honesdale.
As a junior at Honesdale High School Myers broke his leg playing football, and his life changed forever.
Myers began weightlifting to rehabilitate his injured body.
At age 16 he noticed his strength improving at a dramatic rate, so he signed up to compete at an open regional lifting tournament held at Marywood University, where he would later attend college.
Up to that point, Myers was completely self-taught. He learned the lifts from a library book, and began practicing them just two months before his first competition.
Myers went on to place third at the event, catching the eye of the National Jr. Team coach, Marty Cypher.
Cypher, now a United States Weightlifting Hall of Fame Coach, took Myers under his wing.
As a result, Myers went from his first regional tourney to competing in the Senior Nationals in in just two years.
In 1978 he finished 2nd at the Teenage Nationals, 4th at the Senior Nationals, and 3rd at the National Sports Festival.
His astounding performances earned him an invitation to the Olympic Training center in Colorado Springs to train for the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
Unfortunately for Myers, this was the same year that a Soviet invasion of Afghanistan spurred President Jimmy Carter to issue a boycott of the games.
The Soviet Union would go on to win the most golds, and overall medals for weightlifting.
“All of those athletes were in their prime, Don Myers said. “It was an enormous disappointment for all of them to have four years of training go to waste,” Don Myers said.
Myers continued at the state level for a few years before retiring from the sport to concentrate on his career, raise a family.
After marrying his wife Julia, and having two daughters (Emily and Catherine) Myers returned to weightlifting as a National Master's Lifter in 1994 at age 35.
Since then, thanks to a balanced diet and a strict training regimen Myers has tuned his body finely enough to be one this the strongest people on Earth for his age and weight.
Myers was a competed as a Master's lifter at the state level in his new home state of North Carolina before he entered his first competition of National scale in 2013.
Since then hes won two National titles and placed second in a third.
It Gets Heavier
Barry will be testing himself against even stronger competition later this year.
He will be a member of the the USA team competing at the Masters World Cup Championships to be held at Dallas in August.
In September, the following month, he will travel with the USA team to Rovaniemi, Finland to compete at International Weightlifting Federation World Masters Championships.