IPF veterans gathered last week in St. John’s, Newfoundland for the World Masters Powerlifting Championships. 209 men and 201 women from 33 countries competed in an 8 day competition that gave us some of the best masters performances in history.
It was a long journey for many – even some Canadians had to travel thousands of miles to get there. But when they did, they were rewarded with an outstanding competition and a sense of community like no other. St. John’s is a beautiful little city, full of quirky independent cafes and restaurants, shops and galleries, lively bars and microbreweries . The city streets, full of brightly coloured houses, rear abruptly from a stunning natural harbour. Many lifters took the short trip up the coast to Cape Spear – the most easterly point in the North American continent. The Atlantic pounds this dramatic shoreline endlessly and the coastline is littered with beautiful and historic lighthouses. Many more took the short (but steep!) walk up Signal Hill for the breath-taking views.
With so many outstanding performances and world records broken, we couldn’t possibly list them all but a standout moment for many was Jeff Butt, co-meet director and St. John’s resident, after 30 years in the game, finally winning the world title in front of his home town crowd. After clinching the title, he fell to his knees, overcome with emotion and there wasn’t a dry eye in the hall when his daughter put the gold medal around his neck - he broke down again and, in his own words, “cried like a baby”.
People will tell you that St. John’s is a friendly place but this doesn’t begin to prepare you for the warmth of the welcome that you get here. The whole city seemed delighted to have us amongst them. The competition rested on the shoulders of a volunteer army who looked after us incredibly well and organized every aspect of the competition with impressive precision.
As ever in master’s competitions, it was heart-warming to see old friendships and rivalries renewed, as well as new ones forged and we felt that the St. John’s powerlifting community, under the auspices of the Canadian Powerlifting Union, took us to their hearts. We can’t wait to come back.