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USOEC heavy lifter is Olympics bound

April 12, 2011
By CHRISTOPHER DIEM Journal Staff Writer , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - Though he's done well in national and international competitions, weightlifter Steve Jarvis has one goal he's yet to achieve: competing in the Olympic games.

Jarvis, 23, has been weightlifting for nine years. It started in a high school strength and conditioning program where he was taught Olympic-style weightlifting.

"From there I just got increasingly more serious about it," Jarvis said.

Article Photos

Steve Jarvis, who is a member of the U.S. Olympic Education Center’s weight lifting team, clean and jerks 140 kilos, or 308 pounds at the Superior Dome in Marquette recently. (Journal photo by Danielle Pemble)

Weightlifting not only increases flexibility and balance, Jarvis said, it also increases strength and power.

Olympic weightlifting is different from weight training or powerlifting. The competition includes two different types of lifts: the clean and jerk and the snatch.

Competitors attempting the clean and jerk lift the barbell in one quick motion to rest just below the chin. They then lift the barbell above their head.

The snatch is a lifting technique where competitors lift the barbell from the ground to a locked arm position overhead in one continuous movement.

Competitors then fall into a squatting position and have to rise to their feet with the barbell still above their head to complete the lift.

Competitors are separated by body weight. The winners in the competition are the ones able to lift the heaviest weights.

"You get three attempts in the snatch and three attempts in clean and jerk and your best legal attempt in each one is added together and that's your total," Jarvis said.

Jarvis, who trains at the United States Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University, has been competing for eight years and goes to three to four national competitions every year.

He said the heaviest weight he's ever lifted was 185 kilos or about 407 pounds in the clean and jerk.

This past weekend he competed in the USA Weightlifting National Collegiate Championships in Shreveport, La.

"There are three or four national events we go to and those are all over the U.S., if you do well enough you can make it on the international team which can go anywhere in the world," Jarvis said.

He said the program at NMU, which is coached by Andy Tysz, is very special.

"There's only a few major training centers in the U.S. and we're lucky enough to have on here," he said.

Jarvis plans on sticking with the sport for a while.

"My ultimate goal is to make the Olympic games and if I do that I'll probably retire from doing it real competitively. But I would still do it because it makes me feel good and I enjoy it," he said.

Christopher Diem can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. His email address is



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