By Matthew Liebenberg —
Swift Current powerlifter Wayne Cormier broke a national record that he set only a few months ago and claimed another national title.
He competed at the 2019 Global Powerlifting Committee (GPC) Nationals and Canadian Powerlifting Federation (CPF) Western Canadians in Edmonton, May 12.
“That probably would be my 20th national championship that I attended and that would be my 13th or 14th national championship that I've won,” he said. “So the numbers are getting up there.”
He participated in the bench press competition in the 110 kilogram (kg) weight class and 55-59 age category. He was already holding the GPC national bench press record in this class, which he set at 142.5 kg (314.2 pounds) during a tournament in Regina in December.
He broke that record with his second lift at the GPC Nationals in Edmonton to set a new national record of 145 kg (319.67 pounds). This event was also a qualifier for the world championship, and with this performance he is eligible to compete at the GPC world championships, which takes place in Slovakia from Oct. 20-27.
This was the second time in just over a year that Cormier, who is 56 years old, has claimed a national bench press title and qualified for a world championship. In February 2018 he won gold at the 2018 Canadian Powerlifting Union (CPU) national championships and qualified for that organization’s international bench press championships, but he was unable to go due to injuries.
Both these bench press titles are in the same weight and age class. His next goal is to also become the national record holder in this class in Canada’s third major powerlifting federation, 100% RAW Canada. He will have an opportunity to achieve this goal in June.
“I need a goal to train,” he said. “I just can't go and train because there's a contest. I need a goal, I need that special thing that motivates me that much more.”
He must still decide if he wants to go to the GPC world championships in Slovakia. It will depend on his physical condition and he is also working towards another goal to compete at the 2020 GPC world championships in Regina.
Cormier’s preparation for the competition in Edmonton was very intense and he was completely focused on achieving success.
“This was the most intense 20 weeks since I came out of retirement in March 2014,” he said. “I trained three hours a day, six days a week for this championship and worked through some injuries and just kept going through it. My motto for this championship was 'If you want to be a champion, you got to train like a champion.' That was my motto, and I had that written up everywhere – my bathroom mirror, in the gym, I had it everywhere.”
He had no problems making weight for the competition and he weighed in at 108.9 kg. He started the competition with an initial lift of 137,5 kg (303 pounds).
“I started light,” he said. “My philosophy is that it's not important where you start, it's where you end, and so that's the way I coach and that's the way I lift. Let's get the first lift in, let's get the pressure off, because if you miss your first lift, you're down to two lifts. This way, if I make my first lift, I have two lifts to go up and it's a psychological advantage.”
He set the new GPC national record with the second lift, and then lifted 150 kg (330.69 pounds) with his third attempt, but it was not allowed on a technicality. Two of the three judges felt he started to react before the head referee issued the press command.
While this was a disappointment, Cormier still felt positive about this third lift. The current 100% RAW Canada national record he wants to break is currently 150 kg, and he therefore knows that he is able to lift that much.
“I always try to take a positive out of what could be perceived as a negative situation,” he said. “I took a positive away saying I just did that. So I feel good. I feel positive, because I know I can move that weight in a competition. I just got to have to wait a little longer on the chest.”
After this success in Edmonton to claim a national record and title, he believes he is getting closer to his original goal when he came out of retirement just over five years ago, which is to qualify and compete at a world championship.
“It has taken me five years to really have all cylinders firing,” he said. “What I mean with that is even though I have injuries, I've been able to work through the injuries. I've been able to find a way to not let the injuries occupy my thoughts.”
He also feels confident about a decision taken in Edmonton after discussions with his long-time coach, Bill Pyle. They agreed to start using Dennis Dickau, whose coaching experience includes being the strength coach for the Edmonton Eskimos, as a consulting coach to provide advice on training percentages. This will help Cormier to achieve his training goals in preparation for future competitions.
“I've got the two best coaches in Canada right now,” he said. “I have Bill Pyle, who has been with me since 1981 and now we've brought in as a consulting coach Dennis Dickau from Edmonton, and both are legends in the sport. I'm in good hands, and so the ultimate goal right now is to compete at a world championship.”