Dec. 3, 2009
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IOWA CITY, IA – A love for weightlifting that started at the University of Iowa for former standout thrower Shane Maier has turned into a full-blown career opportunity. Maier is training to represent Team USA in the Olympics and, since his time at Iowa, he has competed in national competitions as well as recently competing in his first international competition in Puerto Rico, where he represented Team USA.
Maier is currently training at the WCS Sports Performance Facility in Buffalo Grove, IL. There, he has the advantage of training with Olympic coaches Mike Gattone and Roger Nielson. Gattone is the president of the WCS Sports Performance facility and coached female weightlifting Olympic gold medalist Tara Nott in the 2004 Sydney games. Nielson is a two-time Olympic coach for Team USA, heading the men’s weightlifting team in Barcelona in 1992 and Beijing in 2008.
Maier is training at the national level, and hopes that someday he can turn his passion for weightlifting into a professional career.
“Well, right now I have a full-time job,” said Maier. “I train when I get done with work. But in the future, I’d definitely like to compete professionally. I’m training for the 2016 Olympics, and I think I have a chance to make the Olympic trials in 2012, but I’m really shooting for 2016.”
Looking at his track and field resume from his time at Iowa, it’s clear that the weightlifting paid off. Maier was the indoor Big Ten Champion in the shot put in 2007, one of four athletes all-time at Iowa to win that event. Maier also set the school record for the most times qualified for the NCAA Midwest Regional (6). Maier hasn’t forgotten his roots at Iowa, and still keeps in touch with head throws coach Scott Cappos as well as some teammates.
“I keep in touch with Coach Cappos every now and then. I keep in touch with a lot of the guys that are still there. The one guy I keep in touch with the most would be [sophomore] Matt Banse. We do a lot of duck and goose hunting, so he likes to come up here and sometimes I go out there to hunt.”
Outside of the actual technique of lifting weights, there were other benefits from competing at Iowa that helped Maier transition into national and international competition.
“In weightlifting, it’s kind of a big `scene’ when you’re standing out there on the platform and you have spectators looking at you, the whole stands are filled, and you’re the main attention and everyone’s looking at you. It was kind of the same way in the shot put and discus at Iowa. You’re in that circle and there’s 50 people staring at you waiting for you to throw. So competing in front of people at Iowa prepared me for this competition.”
So when Maier is representing the red, white, and blue in the future, know that deep down there’s a tinge of black and gold.