GRAND HAVEN – Grand Haven native Eric Scott is on his way to Finland. As a member of Team USA, Scott will compete in the World Powerlifting Congress world championships this week.
“I’m excited. It’s a huge honor. It gives me a chance to showcase my talents and it’s something I’ve worked years for,” Scott said about getting the chance to represent his country on a worldwide stage. “I’m really excited to get out there and meet some new people. There is quite a magnitude of people that will be there from different countries. There’s going to be guys from Mongolia, guys from Iran and guys from Russia. There’s like 42 competing countries that can put people in.”
Scott’s love for fitness and working out goes back to his time in high school when he was a wrestler and a football player. After graduating high school, Scott started taking working out more seriously and got into bodybuilding before settling into the world of powerlifting.
“I was trying to cut down for a show and I didn’t like how I had lost strength," Scott said. "I would rather be strong than a bodybuilder. I converted over to powerlifting in 2012, and the first meet that I did I ended up taking second. Three months later, I competed at another and took first and by that time I had added at least 100 pounds to my bench press. I’ve just been competing ever since.”
Scott has done most of his competing in Michigan and the primary location for meets is the DeVos Place Convention Center in Grand Rapids. The meets are far more family-friendly than they would seem and invite camaraderie among competitors.
“Basically, you just see a bunch of strong guys cohabitating with each other,” Scott said. “If there’s somebody in your weight class you want to beat them, but it’s all love at the end of the day. Do I want to be beaten by them? No. Do they want to be beaten by me? No. But, if they hit a big number I’m still congratulating them. People you meet there kind of just become your friends. It’s a really good positive atmosphere.”
To become eligible to compete for the world championships first, lifters have to qualify for nationals. To get into nationals, Scott just had to finish among the top three in the bench press in a qualifying meet over the past year. At nationals, Scott then had to finish in the top three again to qualify for the world championships. This is not the first time that Scott has qualified for this tournament.
“This is my third time qualifying for worlds. It’s my first time going," Scott said. "The first year I qualified the timeframe lined up with when my son was going to be born. It was one of those things where I didn’t want to be stuck out in Portugal. The other year that I qualified it was originally supposed to be in Iran, so a lot of people were boycotting that and I just didn’t end up doing it.”
When it comes to his performance at the tournament, Scott is not worried about the place he finishes. For him, it’s about showing consistent growth in his lifts.
“Any time I ever compete I’m not worried about a first place, I’m not worried about placing. Of course, I want to place first but that’s never my objective. My objective is always to be better than my last meet,” Scott said. “Back when I competed at the Michigan state meet in March I ended up tearing a tricep and a rear delt. So, my bench was only 430 which was poor for me. My goal from then to nationals was just a PR. That’s how I look at it, you’re only as good as your last meet.”
After the world championships, Scott gets a break from meets until nationals next April. During that time, Scott will focus on getting bigger and stronger while also learning from his past meets.
“I’ll just be working on perfecting my lifts. Whatever goes right here, I’ll take that into my next training cycle. Whatever goes wrong here, I’ll adjust it, adapt and move forward,” Scott said.
Scott leaves for Finland on Tuesday and competition begins Wednesday and continues until Sunday.
Contact D'Angelo Starks by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @DAngelo_Starks.