In Olympic Weightlifting news, media outlets in Poland and Norway are reporting that Zygmunt Smalcerz has been hired as the Head Coach of the Norwegian Weightlifting Federation. Smarlcerz, the 1972 Olympic Champion in the flyweight class for his native country of Poland, was most recently the resident weightlifting coach at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs from 2010 through 2017.
“I see promising lifters, but many have the wrong technique. It needs to be fixed,” he told Norwegian media publication Sunnmorsposten. At age 78, Smalcerz is still showing exuberance and excitement to be active in the sport.
Stian Grimseth, 1996 Norwegian Olympian and current President of the Norwegian Federation, first met Smalzerz in September 2019 at the World Weightlifting Championships in Thailand. “I had no idea how old he was and was surprised to hear that he was 78 years old. Although I knew he took the Olympic gold in Munich in 1972, just like our own Leif Jensen, I didn’t think about the age,” he told Sunnmorsposten. Smalcerz visited the scandinavian country in October 2019 and returned again in January of this year before being hired officially on April 14th.
In the short time he has been on the job, Smalcerz has already worked with athletes in over eight cities and attended four competitions before the country and much of the rest of the world enforced “stay at home” initiatives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now he is busy sending out training programs via email and coaching online via video recordings the athletes send him.
Norwegian athletes are said to already enjoying his coaching style. This came as no surprise to 2016 Olympian Jenny Arthur, who spent five years under his coaching tutelage as a resident athlete at the US Olympic Training Center from 2012 through 2017.
“I loved how patient he was with me and every athlete that came through the OTC. When I didn’t understand something he always broke the lifts down to simpler form and various exercises, to better understand it. He was always so patient coaching me and others!”
Already with an accomplished coaching resume, Norway will be his 3rd head coaching position after achieving international levels of success with the National teams of Poland and the United States. He has been instrumental in producing athletes who have achieved medals in the Olympics, World Championships.
Poland’s Szymon Kolecki (2008) and Adrian Zielinski (2012) were under his guidance for large parts of their career before winning Olympic Championships. Arthur won medals at the Junior World Championships and Pan American Championships for the United States under his coaching. She recently won a bronze medal at the 2019 Senior World Championships. In addition, Smalcerz has conducted weightlifting clinics and consulted in numerous other federations.
Meanwhile, Norway is a country that is searching for a coach to help success back to their weightlifting program. Their most recent Olympic medalist was Leif Jenssen, who won the gold medal at the 1972 Olympic Games. In recent years, their most recent Olympian was Ruth Kasirye who placed 7th overall at the 2008 Olympic Games. At the 2019 World Championships they fielded a six person team of five women and one man.
Featured image: @USA_weightlifting on Instagram
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