At 66, Jon Wolbers could be relaxing on a beach somewhere sipping fruity drinks and reminiscing about his greatest power-lifting exploits. The only problem is that for Wolbers, who already holds multiple world records, his greatest exploits might still be yet to come.
Last week the Abbotsford-based power-lifter was in Las Vegas for the World Association of Bench Pressers and Deadlifters (WABDL) World Championships. There he competed in the Law-Fire 64-plus division for athletes with a background in law enforcement or fire-fighting. Wolbers volunteers with the Abbotsford Police Department, as well as coaches Special Olympics athletes in power-lifting.
In Vegas, the senior citizen benched 380 pounds and dead-lifted 585 pounds to set a new world record (he’d set the previous record for his category, 584 pounds, in 2012). After watching video of the lift, Wolbers concluded that “it went up pretty easy,” and 67 might just be a number after all.
“Best [dead-lift] I ever did was when I’d just turned 60,” he said. “I did 607 pounds at 195 pounds body weight, so that’s three times my body weight. Still a world record.”
Wolbers practices his dead-lift at a gym in Mission, and benches on a rig in his house. Before he began lifting at age 42, he experimented with marathon running.
Beating his own record surprised Wolbers, who hadn’t considered that he might be ready to surpass some of his older accomplishments. Now that he’s back to 585 pounds, he might try to reach 600 again and set a new personal best.
“What I learned [in Vegas] was I thought maybe I’d peaked out and I wasn’t going to do any better,” he admitted, “but I think I still got some left in the tank. It kind of rejuvenated me.”
Wolbers also picked up the Best Overall Lifter award in the Masters division 48-plus category.
At 66, he’s yet to find his limit.