By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman
Class Oliver Cole
USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO – USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Sailor, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class Eric Olmstead, broke the world record in the bench press November 11 at the World Powerlifting Federation (WPF) Championships in Las Vegas.
a 22-year-old Michigan native and four-time national powerlifting champion,
lifted 352.74 pounds, shattering the previous record for the 165-pound weight
class of 341.72 pounds.
“My favorite lift is the bench press because it’s the one I know I’m the strongest in,” said Olmstead who weighs just 162 pounds. Immediately after his initial record breaking lift of 347.23 pounds, he requested another attempt to beat his own record.
“If I set a record I might as well set it as high as I can so no one else beats it,” said Olmstead.
In the overall competition, which includes the bench press, deadlift and squat, Olmstead lifted a combined weight of 1,383.4 pounds, earning him second place and a silver medal in the international competition. He represented the U.S.A. against competitors from Ireland, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
Olmstead accomplished this remarkable feat just three short weeks after returning to San Diego from a five-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan.
“I trained harder than I ever have a couple weeks before,” said Olmstead.
As an Aviation Boatswain’s Mate, Olmstead endured 16 or more hour workdays in maintenance support, providing upkeep to the arresting gears and catapults. His service and contributions resulted in approximately 4,500 successful aircraft launches and recoveries.
Being out to sea, Olmstead had some restrictions on the capacity of his training. With no personal trainer, he relied on the support of his family and shipmates.
“I didn’t have all of the equipment I needed and I couldn’t do certain lifts,” said Olmstead. “My buddies on the ship helped me out and spotted me. I still did well so I’m pretty proud.”
He has won four national gold medals in his division and now wears a silver medal on the world level. He met his goals and set a world record. Olmstead is planning to come back next year for the gold.