Artist: Morgan fortems
21 × 28 cm
It may be performed ‘raw’ or ‘equipped’, standing or lying. It is squatting, bench pressing, or deadlifting. It is a strength sport. It is simpler, shorter and mostly heavier than Olympic weightlifting: it is powerlifting.
This marginal amateur sport was totally unknown to me before I met Stéphane, an avid athlete and a friend. He cofounded Club Force l’Enclume Nancy and he has been practicing powerlifting for years with family and friends he introduced to this sport. In order to better understand this extreme strength sport – some athletes can lift more than 400 kg – I have decided to follow him to the Global Powerlifting Committee world championships in Las Vegas, with his partner Céline, and his brother-in-law Luc.
I have followed them from their gym, in a house close to Nancy, to the finals in Las Vegas, where they all won a medal.
I have always related sports to having fun: preferably running after a ball or something similar. I was confronted with a very particular relationship to effort, to the body, and to performance. I now know that it is a strict discipline, that bodybuilders and powerlifters weigh each other up, that a sports performance can last only a few seconds, that a kid or a teenage girl can lift more than 200 kg, that a high-level athlete can weigh 197 kg, that a strong slap in the face or sniffing ammonia can be essential pick-me-ups before an effort, that properly lifting an empty barbell is already an ordeal to me, and that a big leather belt can, in some extreme cases, prevent a lifter’s guts from ‘spilling out’.
I also know that for me, it’s time to go back to running after a ball.