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ITHACA, N.Y. — An Ithaca man is headed to the USA Weightlifting National Championship next week after training in Olympic weightlifting for less than five months.

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As 28-year-old Joe Rogan is preparing to mentally lift more than 300 pounds, he said he’ll be blasting the most inspirational music he can think of:

Single Ladies comes on and I don’t know what happens to me,” he said. He feels like the chances of him lifting the weight in front of him “shoot up astronomically” when Beyonce is playing.

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The Cornell University employee said he’s always been active in sports and fitness and has been training at CrossFit for the past two years.

During Rogan’s second time competing in the CrossFit Open —  a worldwide athletic competition athletes compete in from local CrossFit facilities — he noticed that his weakest area was Olympic lifting.

Olympic lifting adds the combined lifted weight of an athlete’s snatch — lifting a weighted bar from the ground to above one’s head in a fluid motion — and clean and jerk. When clean jerking, an athlete lifts a weighted bar to one’s chest before lifting it overhead.

So Rogan stopped attending CrossFit classes and focused on weightlifting with the help of  Olympic lifting coach Cait Finn. They began working together April 13.

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Within a few weeks, he qualified at an event for the American Open with a total lift of 272kg/598 pounds. At a meet on June 21 at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, Rogan qualified for the national competition with a total lift of 280kg/616 pounds.

With the help of a GoFundMe page and the CrossFit community, Rogan raised over $1,800 to fund his trip to the USA Weightlifting National Championship in Dallas, Texas.

His weight class is 94 kilos/207 pounds. He said his goal for the competition is to lift more than three times his bodyweight: 300 kilos/661 pounds.

“I really like representing my coaches and community and my sponsors and stuff like that,” Rogan said, but added that a large part of his motivation is his fiancee Erika Travis. “I’m trying to impress my fiancee.”

Travis is the assistant strength and conditioning coach at Cornell University.

“She’s around really strong people all day,” he joked.

For videos of Rogan lifting, check out his Instagram.

Contact Jolene Almendarez anytime: 907-854-3248 | Email | Twitter | Facebook

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.