(June 21, 2013) Ocean City resident Mike Hedlesky, 28, arrived in Suzdal, Russia June 11 after more than 30 hours of traveling to compete in the Classic Powerlifiting World Men’s Championship. Despite a torn quad and broken foot, he won the gold medal for his 777-pound deadlift and placed eighth overall.
“The level of competition was insane,” he said. “It was very discouraging going into such a high-level strength event with some serious injuries. But, in the end, all that just made my gold in the Deadlift even more rewarding.”
The 6-foot-2-inch athlete competed on the U.S. world team, which placed second overall, against powerlifters from around the world. Other events in the five-day competition included the squat and bench press. Hedlesky said his injury only allowed him to squat with 575 pounds, which is 100 pounds lighter than his original goal.
“My torn quad was just extremely tight during the competition,” he said. “When I initially injured it a month out from the competition, I found it hard to even bend my leg and put any weight on it. Even through I did a very good job taking care of the injury before I got to Russia, I feel extremely fortunate that I made it through the competition without doing and further damage to it.”
Hedlesky weighed in at 256 pounds for the competition and trained for 11 weeks. He said each week he completed four heavy, 90-minute workouts and about 12 short, 10- to 20-minute workouts that included light stretching, conditioning and aerobic activity.
“People think I am nuts when I tell them I do up to 20 workouts a week,” he said.
While in Suzdal, Hedlesky spent his down time touring the city. He said he enjoyed the scenery, old buildings and eating the food.
“The restaurants in the town had some pretty good food,” he said. “I had to order about three entrees when I went out because the portion sizes were so small.”
Hedlesky currently works as a personal trainer at Atlantic Physical Therapy in Berlin and West Ocean City Fitness. He said he first began lifting at age 14 to prepare for his high school football team and never looked back.
“I love lifting because it is something where your potential is completely determined by how hard and smart you work at it,” he said. “There are so many chaotic unknown variables in life but 500 pounds will always be 500 pounds.”
“I am really looking forward to competing in Olympic Weightlifting and Strongman competitions in the future,” Hedlesky said.
Hedlesky will travel to Orlando, Fla., in five weeks for another national championship competition. He said he is especially excited because he will be injury-free. The powerlifter said he hopes to continue sharing his passion for weight training and athletics.
“I would love to eventually open up a small private training facility that focuses on highly supervised youth training programs for sports and personal training for adults,” he said.