|World champion weightlifter still strong at 75|
|December 21, 2011 10:13 am|
Larry Vincent sits in his home gym after demonstrating some of the workout methods he uses on a regular basis. Vincent created his workout area from the unused crawl space under his Brookings home. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
He’s a trim 145 pounds with a 32-inch waist.
He stands just 5-foot-4.
But Larry Vincent of Brookings can bench press 238 pounds and dead-lift 343 pounds.
Impressive? You bet, especially considering Vincent is 75 years old.
“Exercise is a great moderator of your body,” he said.
He is so dedicated to his sport, and so successful, that he can’t fit all of his trophies into the den of his house. Many are relegated to the garage.
Vincent, who teaches math at Southwestern Oregon Community College’s Brookings campus, won his seventh world championship last month during a competition in Reno, Nev.
He worked his way down to 132 pounds for the contest, competing in the 75- to 80-year-old age group. Vincent’s 238-pound bench press was a world record for his age category.
His 343-pound dead-lift also is a world age group record. He has set 16 world records since starting competition 13 years ago.
Much of Vincent’s training is done at South Coast Fitness in Brookings under direction of his coach, Ed Yeager. There’s also a fully stocked gym in a room off his garage, which Vincent has dubbed “The Dungeon.”
What’s it like being married to a weight-lifting champion? Vincent’s wife, Carol, just smiles and nods at the suggestion that “obsession” might describe his pursuit.
“If you’re the best in the world at anything, you have to be obsessed,” Vincent said.
He was a wrestler in high school, and didn’t take up weightlifting until he cut five tendons in a wrist and needed to rehabilitate.
Vincent continued lifting through a seven-year stint in the Navy and into a teaching career, first at a high school in Orange County, Calif., and then at Cal-State Fullerton.
He joked that lifting, and winning world titles, gives him “street cred” with SWOCC students.
Vincent also taught at Southern Oregon University before he and Carol moved to Brookings in 1998.
He finally nailed down his master’s degree at age 52.
“He proved you’re never too old to come back and finish your education,” Carol said.
Larry added, “I appreciate the people who come back to school” at an older age.
Vincent has a bad back, but lifting actually helps the situation. “If I didn’t lift, I would be crippled,” he said.
However, he acknowledged that the last three years haven’t been kind to his body. He had prostate cancer, and is now cancer-free, but then he suffered shoulder problems.
Vincent called the malady “micro tears,” which required surgery.
About a year ago, he was doing leg presses when he heard what sounded like Velcro being ripped.
“I tore all the tendons loose from the bone of my knee,” he said.
Now, healthy again, he has set his sights on competing in a March 24 contest in Portland where he’ll shoot for state records.
Vincent said success in weightlifting requires mental discipline to keep training even when you don’t feel like it.
“That’s one thing that attracted me to lifting,” he said. “It’s probably more important than talent.”
Carol said she is “one thousand percent supportive” of his avocation and has attended many of the competitions. Her husband competes about three times a year.
He is hooked more on the fitness level that lifting provides than with winning trophies. How long will Vincent keep hoisting heavy barbells?
“Probably until I die. You have to keep active.”