By Dave Ruthenberg, Sports Editor
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Former Enid Plainsmen football standout Mike Magee knew he had a shot at a gold medal finish at the recently completed 2012 World Powerlifting Federation (WPF) world championships in England on Nov. 3. But Hurricane Sandy, or whatever she was calling herself by the time she made landfall, had different plans.
Magee, 49, who broke the world bench press record for his age group (45-49) back in July at the WPF national championships in Ohio, nearly didn’t make it to England thanks to Sandy.
He was all set, after months of preparation, to head out to London, but on the day he was to fly out, all flights from the east coast were canceled and with his weight class (198 pounds) set to compete, he only had one option.
“All the airlines had physically moved their aircraft out of the area because they did not want to sustain damage,” said Magee, a physician who now makes his home in Bedford, N.H. “I was not able to get a flight out until Friday and missed my division, but I had the option to participate in the weight class above me (220 pounds).”
For Magee, it was a no-brainer. Months of hard work and preparation weren’t going to be wasted. So Magee did what he always seems to do: He stepped it up and opted to compete in the higher weight category, much to the chagrin of his competition.
It was a decision that, while certainly gutsy, should not surprise anybody who has followed Magee, who returned to competition this past year after recovering from a pair of rotator cuff surgeries and hanging it up for a while as he focused on his medical career.
After he returned to the sport, which he dominated in high school at EHS (where he also earned all-conference honors in football) and in college at Northwestern Oklahoma State before pursuing his medical degree at the University of Oklahoma, he picked up right where he left off by dominating the competition and setting records.
And then he set his sights on the world championships, but he never anticipated taking it to the guys in the 220 weight division.
“When I went to warm up and saw how big those guys were, I thought ‘this is not going to be good,’” Magee said.
It wasn’t good ... for the surprised competitors.
“I just cleaned up on them,” said a still slightly surprised Magee, who made it to the competition with minutes to spare after flying in to London the night before the competition, taking a train the next morning and arriving to the competition site in Alder-shot, England at 7:58 a.m., two minutes before his new weight class competition was to commence.
Once there, all Magee did was take home gold from his bigger adversaries, posting lifts of 606 pounds in the squat, 474 pounds in the bench and 600 pounds in the deadlift. His cumulative total topped silver medalist David Carney of Scotland by nearly 260 pounds. He would have set a record in his original weight classification.
“It was a great experience,” Magee said. “The Brits put on a great meet. I had planned it a lot differently obviously ... a little more leisurely.”
The U.S. team took home third place overall.
So, what does Magee do next?
“Rest, he said. “Just sit back, not pay attention to the diet for a while and have a few beers. For the last year-and-a-half, I have had my sights on this, so I’m ready to give it a rest.”
Those bigger blokes in England will be glad to hear that. (You can check out Magee’s winning lifts on YouTube by searching “Mike Magee 2012 WPF.”)
Ruthenberg is sports editor at the News & Eagle. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.