As every year CCTV does their bi yearly check in with the chinese weightlifting team.
Thanks to Sean for sending this in and translating. Subtitles are available now. Press the “CC” button in the player.
Lu Xiaojun Video
In November 2018, the 34 year old Lu Xiaojun won gold and set world records the new 81kg class with a 172kg snatch, 202kg clean and jerk, and a 374kg total.
Even the usually stern and cold head coach Yu Jie was beside himself with emotion afterwards.
Today Xiaojun got the gold in the total. Even at more than 30 years old, he is still giving it his all in this sport.
He loves this sport with a passion. He is still able to maintain a competitive shape. This is very hard to do. A prized sword is not affected by age.
Two and half months later, Coach Yu is back to being his old self.
Lu Xiaojun, on the other hand, is happily holding Tian Tao’s award certificate.
I feel not a day over 30At nearly 35 years of age, he is definitely considered a senior athlete in such a physically demanding sport like weightlifting. But Lu doesn’t seem to mind.
“I’ve never thought much about my age. Around my other brothers, I feel not a day over 30. I think it’s the people and the overall atmosphere. Tian Tao, Yang Zhe and everyone else. I might be older than many of them by 5 years. I’m 8 or 9 years Tian Tao’s senior. They motivate me. I feel young around them. I try to motivate them in training. I have to show them that I walk the walk as well as talk the talk. I have to be an example to be the best that I can be.”
Lu tries his best to set an example. As team captain, he is a role model for both his teammates and the countless recreational weightlifters from all over. But at the end of the day, the old must fear the strength of the young. At his age, his recovery abilities is a lot slower than younger athletes.
Even the famous Zhan Xugang suffered similarly back in the day. They say older athletes have a harder time recovering. I think it depends on your attitude and mindset. Starting with your mindset during training.
“For example, I chose to do eight sets on the stationary bike during conditioning training the yesterday. I want to train. I love this sport. It’s all in the mind. I don’t find training to be tiring. I try to make weightlifting a fun and happy experience.
Attitude and mindset is important. Scientific training and recovery protocols also help. Otherwise , how can 6 sets of 10 with 80kg dumbbell rows be performed so easily in the presence of the younger group of men.
Before I thought I could take any amount of strenuous training just because I was young.
Before I would just train and leave the gym. Screw cooling down.I know what peak performance felt like. That is why I am taking my conditioning and supplementary training very seriously.
Including stretching. Before I would just train and leave the gym. Screw cooling down. Just going to train hard again the next day. Now it is not the same.
Now I need to work hard in order to maintain my overall conditioning.
My muscle quality is not as great as before. Now I have to stretch in order to feel ready to train the next day.”
Lu Xiaojun is now the father of two children.
Since he is always away from home, the task of taking care of the kids falls under his wife Guo Xiyan in Tianjin.
Guo Xiyan was also a member of the national team before her retirement. She understands the sport very well and supports her husbands career.
Her only request is for Lu to send her footages of training on a regular basis.
Nowadays, no matter if going for big weights or just doing some pulls, I will always record some short videos to send home.
She says “My dear husband, there is nothing more that I love than watching you train.”
She understands this sport at the end of the day. She sees hope for 2020. If she didn’t see any hope, she would tell me to come home and be with her and the kids.
She supports me a lot. If she sees faith in me, it motivates me to push harder in training.
My wife gives me great hope for the future.
Competition and training are still producing results. The nearly 35 year old Lu does not seem old at all.
Tian Tao Video
Tian Tao’s face is a lot rounder now. He has finally filled out his weight category. Everyone use to joke to him about it but now they are all use to it.
Although Tian Tao himself has not yet adjusted mentally to the new him.
“Now I get really upset whenever the scale doesn’t go up despite how much I eat. I eat a lot and train a lot everyday. I’m even afraid to use the sauna because by losing water weight, I go back to my starting point. And then I get upset.”
In order to be ready for Tokyo 2020, Tian Tao had no choice but to up his weight from 85kg to 96kg. The new weight class change affected him the most. In a way, the class changes had an affect on all members of the team.
But the rules are the same for everyone including foreign athletes. It all boils down to who can adjust properly to the change.
The main goal of winter training this year is to increase everyone’s totals. Before the world championships, we were adjusting to the new classes. Now we are focused on being as competitive as possible in these new classes. This is the most important goal.
Last July, the new classes were introduced. The world championships took place in November. Team China performed well. But women’s head coach Zhang Guozheng is not optimistic.
There is still a time gap between Tokyo 2020 and now. This means that there are a lot of change that can occur. Maybe the competitors haven’t yet started their preparation but we must be going ahead with full force.
We must see and face all the challenges ahead.
We can’t be overconfident. We must find where our issues are and to confront them.