It’s been a long road back to powerlifting for Walt Forsey.
After three knee and four shoulder surgeries, the Fortune native said he feels privileged to once again compete in a sport in which he has had so much success.
Forsey, who now resides in St. Phillip’s, is an 11-time Canadian Powerlifting Union (CPU) national champion. For six of those, he was presented the best-lifter award, an honour given to the strongest pound-for-pound competitor. Along the way, he broke over 40 national records. In 1998, Forsey won the Bill Jamison Award as the CPU’s male athlete of the year, entrenching him in the organization’s hall of fame.
But after his last surgery to repair the cartilage in his knees eight years ago, he thought his competitive powerlifting career had come to an end. Deadlifting caused him too much pain and he was no longer able to deep squat.
Forsey, who also played soccer and kick boxed for years, attributed the knee and shoulder problems to general wear and tear over the years.
“I don’t think I can blame one particular thing,” he told The Southern Gazette Thursday.
Fortunately, the surgeries seem to have worked and Forsey is now on the comeback trail.
Following the recent announcement next year’s nationals will be held in St. John’s, good friend and former training partner Mark Holloway, himself a former national champion who recently started lifting after a seven-year break, began encouraging Forsey to give it another go. He did and discovered he was able to lift again.
“Mark has been quite inspirational with my comeback,” Forsey said. “Myself and him talk over the phone everyday and compare notes.”
Forsey’s first competition since he began training again was last month’s provincial championships at Bishop’s College High School in St. John’s.
Competing in the masters division’s 205lb weight class, he set nine new provincial records, including once for squat and twice for bench. He set deadlift and total weight lifted records three times each.
Forsey, who started powerlifting nationally in 1982, said he found the lifts quite easy.
“I could have done much more – there’s more in the tank – but where I was away so long, I wanted to give myself some experience on the platform. I went eight lifts out of nine and they were all easy,” he said, noting he is considering competing in one more event before the 2015 nationals.
Forsey’s powerlifting career has taken him around the world, travelling as far away as Argentina and Australia for competitions. On three occasions, he has participated in the sport at the World Games.
“I’ve done alright, I guess, and now to have another crack, I’m more psyched than I was before.”