Weightlifting: Maier making progress on road to Rio
Shane Maier takes a break during a workout at WCS Sports Performance in Buffalo Grove. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 29, 2012 6:52AM
When Shane Maier does not have time to make it to the gym, he’ll often conduct his weightlifting workouts in his garage in Northbrook.
“I’ve got the radio on and I’m dropping 450 (pounds) from the air to ground,” he said. “It makes a good rattle.”
So if you walk by and hear some strange sounds, don’t be alarmed. It is the noise of a man who has a chance to be a 2016 Olympian.
At the Pan-American Weightlifting Championships last month, in Guatemala, Maier placed third in the heavyweight division with a personal-best clean and jerk of 467 pounds (212 kilograms). He was fourth in his other lift, clearing 364 pounds (165 kgs.) in snatch, and placed fourth overall.
Maier, who normally competes at 295 pounds, was at the top of his game despite less-than-ideal training conditions before the meet. He lost about 10 pounds while in Guatemala, as the buffet-style food in the training hall was limited and anything but all you can eat.
“I tried to eat as often as I could but they were a little stingy on seconds,” he said with a smile. “This was my first international competition and I learned a lot in terms of travel.”
As far as the actual event, Maier said the environment was great. Unlike other sports, the crowd typically pulls for all competitors, regardless of country.
“People cheer for everyone,” said Maier, 28, who grew up in Storm Lake, Iowa.
Prior to embarking on his competitive weightlifting career, Maier’s focus was track. He won a Big Ten championship in the shot put at the University of Iowa and was runner-up in the discus. For the last two springs, he’s been the throwing coach for the Lake Forest High School track team.
“Coaching has been a phenomenal experience,” he said. “I love it.”
During the spring, Maier puts in a full day juggling all his responsibilities.
He’ll awake early to get to his job as a rehabilitation aid at Athletico Physical Therapy. He’ll work from before 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. and then hustle to get in a workout. After that, he’ll coach track and then head to the gym, in Schaumburg, where he’ll work out with Roger Nielsen, his coach and mentor in the sport.
What do patients at Athletico think when Maier greets them?
“They ask a lot of questions and are interested in what I do,” he said. “A lot of times it’s someone who has had surgery and needs to do therapy and exercises, so it’s a good icebreaker.”
Maier currently is taking time to recover from the Pan-American Championships. His next big competition is in December, and he hopes that will provide a springboard to Rio and the 2016 Olympics.
“That’s my ultimate goal,” he said.