On January 12, 2009, a fellow by the name of Clarence Kennedy posted a YouTube video that showcased some decent tricks and a rugged looking 90kg clean. But that rugged 90kg — in just two years — transformed into a swift and powerful 150kg. In three years? 182kg. And his tricks, even though he doesn’t practice them regularly, aren’t too shabby either.
Coming across someone with baffling athleticism, grace, speed, strength and coordination is rare. Since I had some ties with Clarence, I had to get him in here for an interview. Enjoy.
Q: I was introduced to you through tricking and, originally had no idea you lifted weights. Can you give us a background of where you came from and how you got involved with Olympic Weightlifting? How long you’ve been doing it?
A: I got into Olympic Weightlifting through tricking. I wanted to increase my vertical jump and heard that Weightlifters had good verticals and sprint times so I gave it a go. And, well, I loved it so I kept doing it. Eventually, I found myself pulling away from tricking to focus on it. I’ve been doing it for three years now.
Q: Tricking isn’t exactly the most mainstream of activities, how did you find it?
A: Through Parkour and Freerunning.
Q: What made you want to trick?
A: Both Parkour and Freerunning are limited by space and environment. Tricking can be done almost anywhere without special shoes (or without any shoes), gym memberships, and lessons. It’s 100% free. And no one is going to care about making money from it. Everyone just does it for fun. It’s nice being a part of a community with that mentality. Weightlifting, unfortunately, is different.
Q: You say that you’re an Olympic Weightlifter first and foremost, yet you’re still a skilled trickster. How do you walk the line between the two, as most tricksters have trouble doing this?
A: I don’t. I only do Olympic Weightlifting now. It’s almost impossible to be great at two sports. I wasn’t progressing much when I did both.
Q: You’re strong. Very strong. Can you tell us how you train now?
A: I train at least once per day, every day. My main focus is back squatting. I find it the easiest exercise to do, and it increases my other lifts without even doing them. Usually I’ll do the classical lifts five times per week along with power variations, always shooting for a 1RM. This varies as I like to try different ways of training if I’m stagnant. But I almost always squat daily.
Q: Are you as crazy with your nutrition as you are training? Follow any special principles or do you just eat “normal?”
A: I eat a high protein diet with lots of different meat and fish. I drink at least two liters of milk every day. Lots of eggs too. And some supplements. I cheat sometimes but I never drink, smoke, party, or get involved with that stuff. So it’s not “normal,” but being normal is the biggest disease in the world.
Q: Do you think tricking has somehow helped your Olympic Weightlifting, or vice versa? I talk about how tricking, tumbling, and gymnastics develops spatial awareness. Does this help when you’re freefalling under the bar?
A: Tricking has definitely helped with Olympic Weightlifting in terms of flexibility and, yes, spatial awareness. Tricking taught me that you don’t learn anything without trying it hundreds of times. It’s the same with most things in life.
Q: Olympic Weightlifters cream over shoes. What are your favorites? And what do you think of the New Adipower’s and Romaleos’s in light of the upcoming Olympics?
A: Well, I’ve only worn two pairs in the Adistars and Ironwork. But in my opinion, Adidas makes the best shoes.
Q: Do you do all weight room work in your Weightlifting shoes? Deadlifts even?
A: All including deadlifts.
Q: Think Olympic Weightlifting has helped your vertical jump and overall athleticism?
A: Yes, but if I just practiced jumping I would be much better at it. This goes the same for most everything.
Q: Any favorite athlete in the Olympics? Favorite Olympic Weightlifter?
A: I would love to see how Lu Xiaojun does. He’s capable of breaking the snatch, jerk, and total world records on a good day. I’d say he’s my current favorite. Of all time though: Akakios Kakhiasvilis, Taner Sagir, and Liao Hui.
Thanks for your time Clarence. I look forward to catching up with you in the future. If you want to check out more of Clarence’s videos, visit his YouTube Channel.