In a world where ever-increasing attention is given to younger athletes, Ira Rosen has shown age is not a limitation while placing second at the Masters World Powerlifting Championships in Usti Nad Labem, Czech Republic, on Oct. 22.
The 50-year-old Juneau resident competed at the 60 kg or 132-pound weight class and was the top finisher for the fifth-place United States Masters team.
Rosen was also one of seven Alaskans on the 31-member U.S. Masters World Powerlifting team that made the trip to the Czech Republic.
Rosen put up a combined lift of 460 kg -- 175 kg in the squat, 95 kg in the bench press and 190 kg in the deadlift which Rosen proclaims is his best event.
He finished in second place with his 175 kg squat. He tied for second place with a 95 kg bench press, but lost the tiebreaker in the event and wound up third.
"The tie goes to the lifter who weighs the least," Rosen said. "I didn't notice until I got home that they had me listed 1 kg more than I actually weighed in, so I technically should have taken second place."
The winner of the Masters II competition was Kastuji Okiura of Japan with a total lift of 530 kg.
The Masters I level according to the International Powerlifting Federation is anyone 40-49 years old while Masters II includes anyone over the age of 50.
Powerlifting differs from the Olympic sport of weightlifting in several ways.
In powerlifting, the bench press, deadlift and squat place more emphasis on strength while in weightlifting, the snatch and clean-and-jerk place more emphasis on technique.
"In powerlifting, the events are simpler but since they are simple, the weights are heavier." Rosen said.
Although strength is the emphasis of the competition, the World Powerlifting Federation enforces strict technical rules on competition as well as prohibiting drug use among athletes.
Rosen says he has been follower of weightlifting for many years but never took the sport seriously until he was nearly at the Masters level.
"I have been interested in weightlifting and fitness for about 20 years," Rosen said. "I started out at the swimming pool using the Universal Gym and as I got more involved and more interested, I started working out at the (Juneau) Racquet Club."
"The (Juneau) Racquet Club sponsored a powerlifting competition, and at that point I didn't even know what powerlifting was. But I thought I would enter it for fun," Rosen said. "And what I found was I was not that far off from the state records."
At that point Rosen was about 38 years old and he thought it would be great to set a record or two.
Twelve years later, Rosen holds the American and National total lift record of 1,058 pounds for the 50-54 age group's 132-pound weight class, set in May of this year.
Rosen also holds the National deadlift record of 440.75 pounds in the 50-54 age group and his 1997 records of 424.25 pounds in the deadlift and 1,047 pound total lift still stands in the 45-49 age group.
American records can be set at any competition where certified weights are used while national records can only be set at national competitions.
Rosen's inspiration comes from watching other Masters weightlifters and especially women.
"What really inspires me is watching older women lift," Rosen said. "Women in their 40s and 50s keep getting stronger whereas men peak out in their 30's and lot of the open records for women are set by 40 and 50 year-olds."
"There are women out there that are my size and my age lifting as much or more as I am," Rosen said. "And that is incredible to me. Also seeing some of the older men who are well into their 70's doing multiples of their body weights. That's what I really enjoy."
Rosen's next event will be at the National Powerlifting Championships to be held in Texas in May, and then on to the 2001 World Powerlifting Championships in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.