Written by Team Juggernaut
Juggernaut is excited to grow in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting and bring you more helpful content to aid you in your journey to grow as coaches and athletes. Helping that growth, we have added 4 new Olympic Weightlifters to TeamJTS.Donovan Ford has been a member of USA Weightlifting’s resident athlete program at the Olympic Training Center, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado since 2009. Donovan is currently being coached by 1972 Olympic Champion Zygmunt Smalcerz. Donovan has 8 years of National and International lifting experience. His titles include 2012 American Open Champion, Snatch silver medalist, and bronze medalist in the Clean and Jerk and Total at the 2013 Pan American Championships. Donovan was also a member of the 2013 World Team, held in Wroclaw, Poland. Donovan’s 170 kg Snatch and 201 kg Clean and Jerk make him a competitor to watch for in the 2016 Olympic Games. Website, Facebook, Twitter
Donovan will be coaching alongside fellow TeamJTS member Colin Burns at their weightlifting clinic February 1st at CrossFit Waco, register here!
Name: Donovan Ford
Hometown: Sacramento, California
Current City: Colorado Springs, CO
Gym: Olympic Training Center
Height/Weight and Weight Class: 5’9’’ 231 pounds 105kg Lifter
Occupation: Weightlifting Coach/Athlete Ambassador
Competition Clean and Jerk: 201kg/442lbs
Competition Snatch: 170kg/374lbs
Back Squat: 285kg/627lbs
Front Squat: 245kg/537lbs
Power Snatch: 145kg
Power Clean: 190kg
Power Jerk: 180kg
Check out Donovan cleaning 210kg at the Olympic Training Center…
How did you get into competing in weightlifting?
I got started weightlifting my sophomore year of high school. Our football team’s strength coach was a competitive lifter and stressed the importance of the classical lifts in developing athletes. He noticed that I had a natural gift for the sport. Throughout my time in high school, he invested a lot of his resources to keep me involved in weightlifting.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in weightlifting?
Advice I would give to a new lifter would be to remember that every kilo counts. It takes time and hard work to get to the next level in weightlifting, so don’t be discouraged with slower progress. Everyone loves the 3-5 kilo personal records, but remember that Olympic medals can be won and world records can be tackled with just one kilo.
What is going through your mind as you approach the bar?
As I approach the bar, my mind is clear and the room is silent. It’s just me against the bar. I usually only remember my first few steps onto the platform and my last few steps off the platform.
What do you need to do to be an Olympian in 2016?
In order to be an Olympian in 2016 I need to be focused and take one day at a time. Becoming an Olympian is not something that can be achieved overnight. It’s important to remember that the road to Rio isn’t a sprint but a marathon. There is also a need to pay attention to small details. It’s not all about lifting the heaviest weights. Without proper nutrition, recovery, and studying technique, it becomes nearly impossible to be a champion.
As you deal with rehabbing your shoulder injury, what advice do you have for athletes dealing with a similar situation?
It’s so important to keep a positive attitude; Injuries are part of athletics. Some world champions never get hurt and some have serious injuries and still overcome them to achieve greatness. Most importantly, don’t rush through recovery. Healing takes time and everyone is different; so don’t get discouraged if things aren’t quite where they should be during the rehab process. It’s better to take the time to recover, rather than get re injured and have to go under the knife again.
Give us some insight to life at the Olympic Training Center…
Living and training at the Olympic Training Center is the hardest thing I have ever done, but I have access to any resource that I may need to assist me in achieving my goals. Everything I need as an athlete is no more than a short walk away. We have 9 intense training sessions a week, not including our morning calisthenics. I eat all my meals in the cafeteria whenever I want and as much as I want. The sports medicine clinic offers a lot of different recovery methods for athletes. I have massage, ice tubs, hot tubs, and even acupuncture to assist us with daily recovery. They also provide athletes with a recovery bar that consists of a variety of foods that are known to assist the body during recovery. All athletes have access to trained nutritionists and sport psychologists to help them deal with the stresses of athletics. Living at the Olympic Training Center is a lot like college, without the homework.