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Unreal Lifts: What Happened At The WPO Finals.

A lot has happened in the world of powerlifting in the last few months. A lot more records were broken and more historical lifts were made as certain lifters became legends. Learn what and who did it!

A lot has happened in the world of powerlifting in the last few months. A lot more records were broken and more historical lifts were made as certain lifters became legends.

In the WPO, Jesse Kellum returned to the WPO finals with the same drive, determination, and strength he had at the Show of Strength. He squatted 931, benched 688, and deadlifted 688 and totaled 2309 to win his division. If Kellum keeps this up, he will be a threat to Vogelpohl and Halbert. Watch out, Kellum is looking to be unstoppable. I just can't believe that this is the same lifter from a year ago. It is amazing how much progress he has made in that time. Can't wait to see what his secrets are. Chuck Vogelpohl squatted 970, benched 523, and deadlifted 760 for a 2254 total. Vogelpohl made an attempt at 804 and pulled a hamstring. The video of this lift is at We wish Chuck a speedy recovery.

Steve Goggins squatted an 1102 to put one up on Mikesell, which won him the division title. Ron Palmer had a fantastic day with 786 squat (world record), 473 bench, and 687 deadlift putting him with a total of 1947. Those numbers are unreal for a 165lb lifter! Ano Turtiainen had a good showing himself. The 275lber had beaten the 12-year old record of the late Dave Pasanella a year ago and does it again with a 2463.1 total, the second highest and biggest total in the 275s ever!

He managed a 1080 squat, 862 deadlift, and 600 bench. Garry Frank was eliminated early in the finals which left Andy Bolton the field. Andy had his deadlift record taken a year ago and wanted it back, but he also displayed strength in the other disciplines. He totaled 2486.31 behind Frank weighing in at a hulking 326. Bolton made an explosive squat at 1003.1, benched 600.7 and pulled 933, breaking Frank's record and reclaiming what was his. Don Thompson, Jr who was second behind Frank was also eliminated this time.

It would have been great to see what he could do against Bolton. Oan Basson, "Israeli Tank" made a dominating showing with a WR attempt at 1038 on the squat, a 633 bench, and got a 660 deadlift to make a 2331 total in the 308s. What an amazing display by Basson. Brent Mikesell didn't have a great day because his one attempt on the squat got misloaded and took an additional attempt because of it. But he managed at 1006 squat, 605 bench, and 786 deadlift giving him a total of 2398. But be glad to hear that after this meet, Mikesell reclaimed his title as Squat King with an 1103.5 squat a few months later. Congrats, Brent!

The WPO Bench Bash for Cash was an unreal display of mental and physical strengths. First off, I would like to express my respect for Markus Shick and Fred Boldt who has an excellent battle in the lightweight division. Shick had won the battle with a 566 bench and Boldt followed in second with a 550 bench. Keep in mind Shick was at 156 and Boldt was at 162, those are some unreal numbers at those bodyweights. Ok, I know you are waiting to hear who had won the title... the Monster Bencher of all time!

A lot of the field was eliminated quickly. Vin Dizenzo of Metal Militia appeared here, but it wasn't his day when his missed his first two attempts. Zemmin and Brandenburg was gone from the field as well. But I must mention a Josh Ward who was at 321.32 and made a 551 bench at the age of 16! That's amazing and inspiring! And what's even more amazing is that, he's just... could be a future 800 bencher! Dan Kovacs was third in the bench competition weighing in at 305 and benching 705 on his third attempt... which then leaves Mendelson and Kennelly.

And The Winner Is...

My money before this meet was on Kennelly. Mendelson had benched 713 RAW several weeks prior to this meet. Kennelly started out with 722 for an opener and ended up with 766 after missing 784. Kennelly claimed to me that he wasn't 100% that day and thought that he should play it smart. Mendelson started with 806 and missed it twice causing him to be eliminated. Kennelly had won folks! Let me point out that Mendelson got the weight (806) down and up, just couldn't lockout but don't count Ryan out yet... Ryan at the WABDL worlds blasted 805 off his chest and was a few inches to lockout himself. Even though it seems that it will be down to Mendelson and Kennelly.... yet there is a third... Bill Crawford.

A month earlier in Pennsylvania, Crawford benches 785 in the 308s and benches 805 with 2 whites and one red!! Even though it's a legal lift, Crawford declined the lift claiming that he wanted the lift to be beyond dispute, but what a class act!!

Scot Mendelson - Miss, 2003 WPO Finals - 366kg/806lb
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Lifts including Mendelson's 700 RAW bench can be found at Crawford's bench attempts at 785 and 805 can be found at If you are a powerlifter, you have to see these lifts and if your not, you still should. Also, the video for Brent Mikesell's squat can be seen at his site at Well, email me your comments and stay big!

Curtis D.