Went to the Arnold Championships this weekend in Columbus, OH to see some old friends and watch great athletes compete in the 2012 USA Weightlifting National Championships and Women's Olympic Trials.
Had a great time seeing everyone. Even made some new friends and visited the Expo for the first time. I'm sure the new friends will last much longer than my trip to the Expo--6 minutes. Yuck. But that's for another blog.
I was very excited to see my friend Natalie Burgener and her family this weekend. A 2008 Olympian in the 63 kg class, Nat was attempting to make her second Olympic team after taking most of 2009 off and then having knee and hip surgery. We knew it would be a tough comeback as her weight class is one of the most competitive at the international level.
It was not to be. And now Nat has decided to retire from the sport. I am sad and excited for her at the same time. Weightlifting is losing a class act and a tremendous athlete. Natalie will be starting an exciting new chapter in her life with her husband Casey Burgener. They will do well wherever life takes them and I wish them both the very best.
As a tribute to Natalie and her exceptional talent, I would like to share some special video from a very special day back in September of 2006. This video was shot in the OTC gym during my Senior Coach course with Rodger DeGarmo, who graciously allowed me to set up my camera during the second training session of the day on Friday September 8, 2006. Natalie and her training partner Doreen Fullhart were going to snatch and then clean & jerk that day, in preparation for the 2006 World Championships that were just 4 weeks away. Natalie had just recently set a new US record in the clean & jerk with a 118 kg lift at the Nationals a few weeks prior in August.
She was in the zone. And I mean zone.
This video shows all of her lifts, after warm up, in order. She did not miss one lift and worked up to a personal best of 103 kg. This sequence of lifting is one of the most impressive training sessions I have ever personally witnessed. The only people who have seen this video are people who have taken coach Mike Burgener's Crossfit Olympic Lifting clinic as I gave him a copy of it to use. And now I would like to share it with everyone so we can all see the beautiful athleticism and technical precision of the most fabulous Natalie Burgener.