Well, not exactly, but the Olympics are! London is set to host the 2012 Olympic Games in little more than a week.
The Olympics represent more than sport and competition. “Citius, Altius, Fortius.” This motto captures the essence of what drives us, individually and collectively, toward improvement. Each person’s performance at the Olympics captures the dedication required to get there. The significance of the Olympics makes these individuals' stories even more compelling.
Kendrick Farris was kind enough to sit down with me before he heads to London to represent Team USA in the sport of weightlifting at his second Olympics. Kendrick, thanks for taking the time to share a little bit about yourself.
First, can you give readers a little background on how you got your start in weightlifting?
KF: I got started in weightlifting after the 1996 Olympic Games when USA Weightlifting opened one of twelve satellite programs established across the country in my hometown Shreveport, LA. I've been training and competing nationally for over 14 years now.
Wow, so you’ve been training for over half of your life! I’m sure over the course of your career that you’ve had your share of ups and downs. How do you handle training days that don’t seem to go how you’d like?
KF: Weightlifting is a ritual of life so there will naturally be ups and downs, good and bad days, but two things I tell myself are "If every day were a good day there would be no such thing as a good day" and "Today is a new day, which means I've never trained on this date before; therefore, it's a personal record day.” So with all that said, the simplest thing to do is stay positive and not get bent out of shape so easily. It's just training so enjoy the journey.
Speaking of journey, in 2008 you competed in Beijing. This year, you’re heading to London for your second Olympics. Is the second time around any different than the first? How does your mindset compare, in terms of what you focus on in training and what your goals are?
KF: I would have to say the biggest difference between this time and 2008 is that I'm not as overwhelmed with excitement. I'm focused on doing every lift the same, staying healthy, and visualizing myself take each lift in London.In 2008, my goal was just to make an Olympic Team. I didn’t make up my mind that I wanted to win until I got there, and, as you can see, it doesn't work that way. My main goal this time around is to inspire people with my Faith and break records.
As you strive to achieve your goals, what do you think contributes to your success that others could implement in their training and lives?
KF: My guideline to life is God's Word: the power that we have as believers is real. For those that don’t share my faith, it's simple: Your goals have to be bigger than you can wrap your mind around. You need stepping stone goals that lead to your overall goals.
With all of this training under your belt, have you had any setbacks due to injury? What sorts of things do you do to stay healthy?
KF: I hurt my shoulder in Beijing back in 2008; I offset my pelvis in 2010, and again mid ‑2012. But I'm healthy now and doing more things to stay injury free. I have a PT that keeps me in line and I have some stretches and other exercises that you provided for me that helped with my shoulders and hips! At this point of my career, staying healthy is a must, so I do heat, ice, and stretch to keep my body going.
You’re a father, husband, Olympian, and run your own business. How do you balance all of these roles?
KF: It's a challenge sometimes because I always feel like I can be doing more work whether it be in the gym or my office. I think what has helped me balance things is I've made my business a family affair. My wife helps me fill orders and my son will come with me to ship packages sometimes. This keeps everyone involved in what I have going on.
Last question, what’s your favorite event to watch at the Olympics?
KF: While I was in Beijing, the most impressive event I got to watch was the synchronized swimming. It was completely mind blowing to see in person!
Thank you for your time, Kendrick. Do you have any final words you’d like to share with us?
KF: We only do this thing called Life once, so make it worth living.
To support Kendrick and to find out more about his journey, make sure to visit KendrickJFarris.com.
*Note: Kendrick left today for London. We’d like to wish him a safe journey and great training in these final stages of preparation. Make sure to catch Kendrick compete on August 3. Here’s a link to all of the scheduled sessions, including Kendrick’s: Olympic Weightlifting Event Schedule