‘Everyone, it’s like I’m stepping on the podium for the first time’ – Sault powerlifter Holly Lasante
Every competition brings a new challenge.
For Sault Ste. Marie’s Holly Lasante, powerlifting means an opportunity to compete at the world level and achieve great success while doing it.
“Everybody, it’s like I’m stepping on the podium for the first time,” said Lasante. “I’m always nervous and excited. There are always new competitors. It doesn’t mean you go and hang out with the same people every time. Sometimes there are familiar faces, but more often than not there are new people. It’s a new encounter every time you go. It’s not a sure thing.”
Even with the new faces competing in competitions, Lasante said that the focus remains for him to go to each game.
“The only thing you can do is focus on yourself,” Lasante said. “Make sure you’re as strong as you can be.” I really focus on form because there are so many special things to consider when doing your lifts. The only person you can really worry about is yourself when it comes to training.
International racing is important to Lasante, who has competed in four world championships, including his most recent gold medal in St. Louis. John’s, Nfld.
Lasante won the all-around gold while taking gold in the deadlift and silver in the deadlift at the IPF Worlds Masters Powerlifting Championships.
“There is a lot of energy when you go to the place,” said Lasante. “It’s all over the world. You know these people are all here to compete in the same sport.”
“Everyone is there with the same focus,” Lasante added. “We’re all happy and you make friends with everyone right away, it’s crazy. It’s very competitive, but it’s different.”
The players’ support for each other is something that continues to show for Lasante.
“Everyone is pushing you to be very successful,” Lasante said. “In the middle of the elevator, I had people come up to me and say ‘Hey, you got it,’ or ‘You’re going to do this.’
“Or I go up to the people,” said Lasante. “There was a woman from France that I had a hard time saying ‘You’ve got it.’ Just focus and you’ll kill.’ It’s the same with all promotions. You are the most liked person.”
After competing at regionals, nationals, and worlds in the past months, getting back into competition is exciting.
“It builds passion every little bit,” Lasante said.
With the new worlds behind him, Lasante is ready to compete in other countries, which will be in Vancouver next year.
“I’m back to my normal training routine, but it’s great because I’m back on the horse,” said Lasante. “It feels good, and you just want to keep getting better.”
After winning the nationals in St. John to go forward, Lasante said the world, also made in St. John “very strong.”
“You put a lot of pressure on yourself to get there,” Lasante said. “When I train and prepare for a competition like the worlds, I don’t think I want to be average. I want to go and be the best I can be. When he was at home, I jumped on the pulpit, and it was full. I have never lifted in front of many people before. They are all entertaining, and they hit you right in the heart. It’s like it makes you stronger because you’re home.”
“It’s amazing to be in that kind of competition in front of all the other Canadians,” added Lasante.
A multiple-time world champion, Lasante admits that the feeling of winning is always something special.
“When I was on the podium and they played the national anthem, that was my dream forever,” Lasante said. “To be a world champion, to look crazy and to have them play the Canadian national anthem because of what you did for your team, I tried really hard not to cry. It felt pretty good.”
The preparation for the world was quite a training adjustment for Lasante, who competed in the national team in the 69 kg category before competing in the 63 kg category in the world.
“I have to lose about seven kilos to compete, so what was a little different for me was losing weight while being able to maintain my strength and do all the training we usually do, ” said Lasante.
Working with coach Austyn Ryan was a perfect fit as Lasante was able to continue his success.
“It’s amazing,” Lasante said of working with Ryan. “He knows when to call me (out) when I’m lazy.”
“I’m very lucky to have a long relationship with him,” added Lasante. “It’s great.”