Weightlifter ‘snatches’ gold medal


Freshman Julian Malone performs a 50 kilogram lift during a control test at the Academy of Weightlifting in Santa Ana earlier this year in February. Reposted with permission from Monica Malone.

Andrew Park, Arts & Entertainment Editor

A young weightlifter steps on to the stage and slaps chalk on his hand as he grasps the barbell. Beep. He lifts the barbell up to his shoulders, breathing nervously yet confidently. Then, he pushes it up above his head for several seconds.  Beep. The barbell slams back down the floor, evoking loud cheers from the audience.

This is what freshman Julian Malone experienced at the Oct. 4 2019 Masters World Cup an Olympic Weightlifting competition in San Diego. He won three gold medals in the 67 kg weight category by placing first in Snatch and Clear & Jerk, two different methods of lifting the weight.

“I felt really good about winning gold in the competition,” he said. “Weightlifting is something I have a great passion for, so placing first means a lot to me.”

Malone only recently began competing in national competitions, participating in two total the 2019 USA Weightlifting Youth Weightlifting Championships and the 2019 Masters World Cup. He competed in his very first national competition, the 2019 USAW Youth Weightlifting Championships, in Anaheim on June 24. 

Although Malone is now an award-winning weightlifter, he overcame several obstacles to make it this far.

One major incident occurred during the past summer exactly three weeks before Malone’s first major national competition.

Monica Malone, Julian Malone’s mother, said the incident happened while Julian Malone and his older brother Connor Malone were heading to training at the Academy of Weightlifting in Santa Ana. As Connor Malone was making a left turn, a driver ran a red light and crashed head-on into the side of their car. Connor Malone suffered a concussion while Julian Malone suffered from trauma following a mild whiplash.

“The accident hurt me the most mentally,” Malone said. “I thought I was never going to compete again because the injury made me want to give up.”

Despite the unfortunate accident, he returned to training two weeks after the accident.

“I overcame the accident with persistence,” he said. “I kept working out after the accident and would try to recover from the trauma.”

Julian Malone said his family encouraged him to not give up the sport he had been doing since he was nine weightlifting.

In fact, his entire family, including his older brother, mother and stepfather, does weightlifting

“I consult them whenever I have a difficult time because they truly understand and love weightlifting as much as I do,” Julian Malone said.

Monica Malone relates her son’s hardship in training as she is a competitive masters level athlete in Olympic weightlifting, a standard that applies to anyone who is over 35 years of age.

“I am familiar with the exhaustion from training, the mental game it takes to ensure technique is on point and the pressure of competition,” she said. “To see my son have the mental fortitude and focus to execute clean lifts in competition under pressure, is a reassurance that he has the basic skills to face life’s obstacles.”

In order to improve his weightlifting skill, Julian Malone spends many hours to practice after school.

“I practice everyday for usually three hours at a gym in Santa Ana except on Fridays and Sundays,” he said. “You really have to work hard for this sport, but all the training pays off eventually.”

Freshman Gyasi Tsarnas, one of his closest friends, commends him for all the effort he puts into weightlifting.

“I just hope he keeps doing what he is doing,” he said. “He is doing a lot of these things that kids his age could not do, and all I want is for him to succeed.”

Julian Malone started training seriously about four years ago, heading slowly now to higher level competitions.

“I plan to focus in my training to hopefully make it to the Junior National Championships held at Sacramento in february,” Malone said.

The young weightlifter has great passion for this sport and has big plans for the future hoping to make it as far as he can.

“Weightlifting has been part of my life for a long time now,” he said. “My dream is to become an Olympian one day.”