The Arnold Classic is one of the most renowned competitions in professional power lifting. This weekend's event will attract lifters from around the world to Columbus, Ohio, including one Central New Yorker who says it's the opportunity of a lifetime. Sarah Blazonis reports.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- For Mark Van Alstyne, this is something that's been years in the making. He began weight lifting in college, but it's not something he got involved in competitively until about 2001. He's trained for the Arnold Classic for about a year, and this weekend, he's taking his skills from Hercules Gym in Syracuse to a much larger scale.
The classic is part of the Arnold Sports Festival. It's an event that attracts more than 18,000 athletes to compete in a variety of events.
Van Alstyne says he expects more than 40 lifters to take part in his category. They're going to be lifting very large amounts of weight. Van Alstyne says he hopes to bench press 500 pounds during competition.
His training was derailed last year when he suffered an arm injury, but he says he got back on track and says he's very happy he was able to qualify for the classic this year, especially since, at 46 years old, it's likely his only chance.
"I'll be going up a weight class after this because normally I compete at 181, but I have to cut about 15 pounds - 18 pounds of body weight in a matter of two or three days to make weight, and I don't think my body wants to do that anymore. So this may be my last hurrah, so it's really important I qualified this year," said Van Alstyne, who's also a physical therapist.
Van Alstyne says scores are determined with a formula based partly on how much weight is lifted. There are three different lifts he'll have to do, and he says his goal is for all three to total into the 1800 pounds range.