RATHDRUM, Idaho — There's a new national deadlift record holder, and he's from right here in the Inland Northwest.
22-year-old Connor Heim broke last year's record by just one pound. Now, he'll represent Team USA in the World Powerlifting Championships held in Romania from August 24th - September 3rd.
He didn't need to beat the national record to win, but he did both anyways.
"Me and my coach planned on doing it for our second attempt and going up even higher on our third," Heim said. "But, we kind of pictured going for the win first, and then the record was kind of the cherry on top.”
Powerlifting competitions measures strength in three lifts: the bench press, the squat and the deadlift.
Athletics always came easy for Heim. He played football, ran track and wrestled all four years of high school.
"And afterwards, I didn’t really know where to go with it, but the one thing I really picked up on the along the way that I loved was lifting weights,” Heim said.
So, he signed up for his first competition three years ago in Boise.
"I was able to walk away with the win in not only my age group, which is the juniors, but also in the open. And I was like 'this is really cool,'” Heim said.
With determination, he kept adding and stacking the weights. By the time he got to Arizona, he was ready to beat the national record for his class.
The 183 pound weightlifter broke last year's record by one pound at 695, which means his competition total added up to 1,637 pounds.
"It was pretty cool to be able break that and take that from someone who is incredibly strong and very prestigious in the sport," Heim said.
He isn't stopping there. Heim now has his eyes set on the next big challenge, the world championships in Romania.
"Looking to bring home another world title as a team and bring home one for myself," Heim said. "That’s kind of the goal.”
For Heim, powerlifting is much more than just breaking records.
"I think what it really is is constantly chasing a better version of yourself and having a community to rally behind you," Heim said. "And whether you’re new or have 20 plus years of experience, everyone there is out to help each other. Super supportive and positive environment.”
As he keeps on improving, Heim wants to continue raising the bar from here in his small town and on the world stage.
On top of powerlifting, Heim is also studying acting at the University of Idaho. It's something he said he's been doing for 15 years.
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