|Born:||July 02, 1986|
|Ht: / Wt:||5'9" / 175 lbs|
As good as Gump
Kendrick Farris (85kg) will be joined on the U.S. Olympic team by female lifter Carissa Gump (63kg). However, she was not the Gump that first inspired a young Farris to succeed in sports. His first goal was to be as good as the fictional Forrest Gump was in, among other things, table tennis. "I used to be so good. I think I could have made it. I used to watch Forrest Gump and say, 'That's what I need to be doing.' That was my goal: to be as good as Forrest Gump." His uncle, Kevin, and other peers steered him eventually toward another Olympic endeavor, one that he will be exhibiting in Beijing.
Easy Street to Beijing
Farris went from his Shreveport home street, East Street, to the USA Weightlifting Development Center when he was 11 years old. The director of the facility, Kyle Pierce, became Farris' mentor and coach and helped put the young lifter on the road to the Olympics, both physically and mentally. Farris does not model his current style after any particular lifter, but he compares it to that of three-time Olympic champion at 85kg, Pyrros Dimas, because of its unorthodox movements.
Trials and error-free
Farris entered the 2008 Team Trials as the number-one lifter, based on his performance at the Pan American Championships in March. Going into that tournament, the U.S. men were not even guaranteed participation in Beijing. The eight-man team, which included Farris, saved face for the U.S. and gained two Olympic spots (increased to three in May). Farris then totaled 355 kilograms for 93.61 percent and held onto his first-place position.
Member of 200-club
At the 2007 National Championships, Farris became the first lifter at 85kg to clean & jerk 200kg. After the bar dropped to the floor, Farris wiped his brow playfully while the crowd applauded his enormous effort. After the event, he expressed higher goals to come: "I look at setting a national record as a stepping stone to breaking a world record." Farris lifted the bar even more at Trials, controlling 201kg above his head. According to Pierce, he has cleaned 207kg. The current world record is 218kg, set in 1998 by Chinese lifter Zhang Yong.
China on his mind
Farris has competed on Chinese soil once before. At the 2006 World Junior Weightlifting Championships in Hangzhou, China, Farris finished 8th overall, highest among all lifters in the B-session. Two years later, the 21-year-old father of son Khalil will be going to China as an Olympian, hoping to become the first U.S. male weightlifter to win an Olympic medal since 1984.
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