In late August, Hernando’s Tanner Madison will head north of the border with hopes of becoming a world champion.
Madison, a graduate of Hernando High School who competed for the school’s powerlifting team, has been chosen to be one of those representing the United States in the International Powerlifting Federation World Sub-Junior Powerlifting Championships, which will be held Aug. 26-31 in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
He will be competing in the 66 kilogram weight division, which equals 145 pounds. Head coach of the USA team is Zac Cooper, who made the invitation which Madison accepted.
It came after Madison placed first in his division at the U.S. Powerlifting Open Nationals held in Lombard, Illinois back in May. Madison lifted a total of 552.5 kilograms, which equals just over 1,218 pounds between the three lifts of squat, bench and deadlift.
Powerlifting is a sport that combines the scores of the three lifts for a total score that determines a winner in each weight class.
Madison put his personal records in competition into pounds and that equals a lot of weight.
“In competition, my best squat lift is 460 pounds,” Madison said. “My best bench lift is 308 pounds and my best deadlift is 480 pounds.”
Pretty impressive for a young man who was among Mississippi’s top-rated powerlifters in high school, but who never won a state crown.
“I went to state championships (as a junior) and I bombed out in my squat, meaning I missed all three squat attempts,” Madison explained. “I couldn’t make a total and was disqualified. I was supposed to win that one, was definitely set to win that one. I missed it my junior year and came in my senior year, got to state and I got second place at state,” a runner-up finish he said many felt was due to an incorrect judge’s call.
While not getting the gold medal in high school competition, Madison finally succeeded at the national level, but had struggled again before finally coming up a winner.
“I went to nationals one month later (after state as a junior) and bombed it again, missed it three times,” Madison said. “That’s what really lit a fire under me. I bombed out twice in the two biggest competitions of my life. If I had won nationals my junior year I would have made the national team that year.”
Madison went on to say the sub-junior world competition is for lifters ages 14-18. The high school national results and the open national results are used with the best lifter from each weight class chosen for the USA Powerlifting national team, which Madison achieved with his victory in Illinois.
The drive to succeed has apparently always been in Madison, who at 145 pounds is small in statue, but big on desire and passion for the sport.
“When I was younger, in eighth grade, I was really small and I got picked on a lot,” Madison explained. “So I started working out and seeing the results. It fascinated me, so I kept doing it and it has turned into a burning passion.”
Football players recommended Madison to coach Will Wolfe, the head football coach who was also the Tigers’ powerlifting coach.
He (Wolfe) came up to me and asked me to try out one day after school,” Madison explained. “I lifted, he said, ‘you’re on the team,’ and that’s how it started. I lifted that freshman season and all through high school and toward the end it got more serious.”
In high school, Madison competed in the 123-pound division before moving up to 132 pounds his junior and senior years.
Training as a powerlifter combines work to be as strong as possible.
“There’s a million ways to train for powerlifting,” Madison said. “You’re working out but it’s different from your bodybuilding workouts or muscle building workouts. There are fewer sets and less reps but way higher weights. When I’m training for my squat, it’s also helping my deadlift, as vice versa. When I’m training my deadlift it’s helping my bench because of my back. It’s getting my back stronger and my back strength also helps my bench press.”
When Madison gets to the world championships next month, he won’t guarantee he’ll win it all, but adds, “My confidence is pretty high. I just try to do the best I can do”
Madison needs sponsorship money for his trip to the world championships. If you would like to help out, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 901-849-5498.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.