AURORA, Colo. — Carlos Clarke is a powerlifter from Aurora who was recently invited to compete in South Africa at the 2020 World Classic Powerlifting Championships.
“I’ve always wanted to do it but decided it wasn’t going to happen and here I am so I’m excited…I’m looking forward to it, I just have to get there,” Clarke said.
At 63 years old, Clarke said he’s been lifting for 47 years and will be competing with a 500-pound deadlift and more than a 500-pound squat.
“I’ve always been a natural lifter…I don’t use any PEDs or anything like that,” Clarke said. “I stopped for a lot of years until I could beat the older guys, so now I’m back.”
He said he has no sponsors and no formal training. He works a regular nine-to-five job and trains at Vasa gym in Aurora.
“It’s easy to interact with people here,” Clarke said. “I try to make myself available when I can.”
“Anytime we had a question about a new exercise or new routine, he would take his time out of his routine to come help us learn new things,” said his friend Jessica Schafer.
Clarke and Schafer met three years ago when she and a friend were trying to figure out a weight machine.
“I came in here and I was a little nervous to start a machine and I looked over and saw a very strong man and I thought ‘well, he probably knows what he’s doing’,” she said.
“I could tell they were enthusiastic but not quite sure how to do what they were doing,” Clarke said. “I just remember ‘oh my goodness, if I go over here, they’re probably going to think ‘this guy’s trying to hit on me’.”
Clarke went to Costa Rica last year to compete in the Regionals competition where he brought home the gold medal.
Soon after, he was invited to compete again in Illinois, bringing home another gold medal. It was these last two wins that earned him the honor of being invited to the World Championships in South Africa.
“That qualified me to be invited to the International Powerlifting Federation, which is probably the largest power-lifting federation on the planet," Clarke said.
He said they‘ll be holding their world championship in Sun City, South Africa in April and so his friend Jessica has decided to start a GoFundMe page to help with expenses.
“He’s done the heavy lifting, let’s do the easy part and everyone just give him what you can so he doesn’t have the financial burden to worry about,” she said.
Clarke said he’s grateful for the support and inspiration from a friend he decided to help out.
“It was not something that I expected,” he said. “My efforts have been returned to me 100 fold and I appreciate it.”
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