Ladies and Gentlemen of 70sBig, I interrupt your regular PR Friday programming. I’m writing this at 5am on Friday morning. Why? Because I wanted to write this post to kick off Memorial Day Weekend while watching our buddy Ryan Carrillo represent the United States of Awesome at IPF Bench Worlds. First and foremost, Memorial Day is about honoring and respecting our soldiers, especially those who have fallen in support of our country. It’s also about being a patriot, and being proud to be an American. It’s only fitting that Ryan is off in Lithuania flying our colors proudly for us on the World stage.
While my first pot of coffee brewed this morning, and I desperately tried to get the sleep out of my eyes, Ryan opened successfully at 267.5kg, putting him in 2nd place in the Jr 120+ kg category, 7.5kg behind a Russian for first, and 7.5kg ahead of the Czech lifter. He knew going in that the Russian would be his main competition, and I even texted him some choice words about it ahead of time. He called for a 10kg jump for his second; the Russian called for a 7.5kg jump, narrowing their gap. Ryan might be too young to remember the cold war, but this battle still seems appropriate.
I am glued to the stream, which I have connected to my big-ass TV and surround sound (America!). I get chills every time the Lithuanian chick says Ryan’s name over the streaming broadcast. He presses his second attempt, 277.5kg, a bit slowly, but gets 3 white lights. The Russian’s 282.5 is a bit quicker and also gets white lights, narrowing his lead to 5kg.
They both call for 290.0kg (640lbs) on their third. This is what he told me he wanted in our first discussion on the topic back in February, so I probably should have seen it coming. He hit 280kg at Collegiate Nats on his final attempt (after missing it on his second at that meet), so this is a big one – a meet PR for sure. The Russian calls for the same 290kg. Rammstein plays in the background, because Lithuania.
The wait seems like forever – I imagine Ryan behind the stage, knowing he has half of Texas staring at computer screens well before their normal waking time, waiting to scream and yell in support of his final lift – trying to will him to victory. His facebook feed is alive with support. His spotify playlist simply called “meet” ominously looms on his facebook wall. He is connected, even across the world, but I know that his mind is locked in on what he came here for – the win.
Five lifters in a row have failed their third attempts as the bar climbs from 245 to 270. My coffee is finally kicking in, and my blood pressure is climbing. I get a text from the other room asking me to turn down the volume of the stream. I oblige…barely. I start to think the Lithuanian announcer chick sounds kinda hot, but I secretly hope her shitty pronunciation of Ryan’s last name is fueling his inner rage on the other side of the world. I change my mind about the volume of my internet stream, turning it higher and insisting that my lady friend come in to watch Ryan, because it just feels like something big is about to happen. She grumbles and stumbles her way to the couch.
Suddenly, the Czech hits 277.5 to bump Ryan into 3rd, based on bodyweight. Next, the Ukraine lifter hits 280kg to bump Ryan into fourth, off the podium. When you’re in a meet, you don’t think much about these things, but as a spectator, everything suddenly feels like it’s slipping away. I watch the attempt board closely, and am appreciative of how responsive and quick it is on my browser. The attempt chart shows that Ryan lowered his 3rd to 285. Still a PR, but is he just trying to get back on the podium? I don’t know.
285kg is loaded, and Ryan storms to the platform. I imagine it is shaking under his weight. He’s locked in, mentally, of that I have no doubt. I can practically see lasers coming out of his eyes. But during his setup, he discovers the height of the racks are incorrect for his giant frame and long wingspan. He shows the liftoff guy, who quickly fixes it, but I briefly worry that his concentration might be shaken.
Ryan quickly gets in position anyway, brings the bar low and tight, and presses it. It moves quickly off the chest, but there’s a subtle dip on one side – subtle enough for me to yell “TWO WHITES!” at the screen, as more of prayer than anything. I was wrong – he gets all three whites, ending his day perfectly, hitting a huge PR in the process, and putting him temporarily in first place for the first time of the meet.
The Russian lowers his 3rd attempt to 287.5, enough for the outright win, though tying Ryan’s 285 would still get him the gold based on bodyweight (The Russian is about 20kg less 70sBig than Ryan). I’m a little let down after such a triumphant 3rd by Ryan, thinking the win might slip away, because the Russian’s lifts have all been quite strong. The Russian brings it low – “too low!” I yell at the screen! – and explodes with a ton of speed off the chest. I hold my breath – the lift is impressive, and quick. He’s a strong fella. But then the bar dips. He completely fails to lock it out. Three reds.
After jumping up and down and screaming (it’s still not even 6am), I kiss my lady friend, who I dragged into the room to watch this. She beams, and we both know that he’s done it – Ryan Carrillo is now a World Champion.
Could it be more fitting that this happened going into Memorial Day weekend? Ryan’s years of hard work, finally paying off on the biggest stage of his life so far, in his first opportunity to represent Team USA at a World event. In the medal ceremony, he towers over everyone before he even steps on the podium. He has proudly represented his country, his state, his family, and his friends. I know what kind of patriot he is, and how much this means to him – I know that the timing is not lost on him. As the Star Spangled Banner plays, and Ryan covers his heart with his right hand, I see tears forming in his eyes. Strong men also cry…strong men also cry.
I’m proud of you, brother. From all of us at 70sBig, thank you for representing our country so well this weekend. You done good.
Sorry for the quality of the photos – they are cell phone pics of an internet stream, what do you expect? Go ahead and post your PRs in the comments as you normally would on Fridays. I have some reader-submitted pictures and videos, but will hold them until next Friday’s PR post. Stay safe.