The Olympic dream of former Center Grove High school athlete Jimmy Boshears is far off, both in time and distance.
Seventy-seven months. Half a world away. An absolute haul in every conceivable sense of the word.
A junior at Northern Michigan University in the state’s Upper Peninsula, Boshears works diligently in an attempt to someday achieve the ultimate in competitive weightlifting.
Boshears’ objective is to eventually trade his forest green and gold Northern Michigan sweatsuit for the red, white and blue as a member of the U.S. Olympic Team for the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
At 22, Boshears remains the 5-foot-8, 170-pound athlete he was while playing wingback and catcher for the Trojans’ varsity football and baseball programs, respectively.
Only now the lifts he performs during competitions carry more weight.
Boshears as a Center Grove senior during the 2009-10 school year was capable of snatching 95 kilograms (209 pounds) whereas today he’s at 130 kg (286). He’s substantially improved his clean and jerk, as well, moving up from 108 kg (237.6) to
Boshears will be a month away from turning 29 when the 2020 Olympics begin on July 24 of that year. More than likely, by then he will have moved up from his current 77 kg weight class to 85 kg (187 pounds).
To those unfamiliar with the nuances of weightlifting, the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro would seem the more logical choice for Boshears.
“The normal peak for male weightlifters is between the ages of 28 and 32,” Boshears said. “It takes a lot of dedication mentally, and I have to take it one day at a time. It can be hard to do being a college kid when everyone else is going out on weekends and things like that.
“It’s all about moderation, but I spend a lot of time with my teammates, who have the same goals as me.”
Boshears is part of reputed Northern Michigan’s Weightlifting Club under the guidance of coach Vance Newgard, who works with male and female lifters on technique, focus and strength.
The program was established in 2003 and has produced national and international champions alike. The Northern Michigan campus features one of the nation’s premier Olympic training sites.
An accomplished weightlifter in his own right, Newgard appreciates the attitude and work ethic Boshears exhibits every day in pursuit of the ultimate.
“He definitely understands what it’s like to be part of an elite system. He understands what you have to do to succeed,” Newgard said. “To be in the Olympics you can still be great and not make it. Jimmy is still young, but he definitely has the physical qualities.
“I won’t count him out.”
Newgard compares one’s quest to become an Olympic weightlifter to having a hill to climb.
It’s a process that includes, among other things, perfecting technique, having the right coaching and knowing which competitions to target along the way.
Boshears, a first-place finisher at the 2010 Indiana State Championships in Brownsburg, took second at the 2013 Hoosier Classic in Bloomington.
He is training for the Indiana State Championships in Crown Point in May. Part of that is maintaining a certain dietary discipline.
A normal Boshears breakfast will be an apple, a banana and two or three eggs over easy. He also consumes chicken and broccoli, plenty of water and consumes a piece of fruit, protein drink and peanut butter and jelly sandwich as snacks.
Boshears admits being part of Center Grove’s renowned strength training program while in high school prepared him well for this stage of his athletics life. So, too, his roles within the football and baseball programs.
“The biggest thing was the discipline and the responsibilities they gave us, especially (strength) coach (Marty) Mills. He had the biggest impact when it came to my weightlifting career,” Boshears said.”I think I have a really big advantage coming from Center Grove when it comes to having the mental discipline.”
Six years to the Olympics is a long time, and Boshears knows it. However, he’s come this far and seems determined to give Tokyo’s five-ring circus his absolute best shot.