WESTERLY — Based on unforeseen circumstances, the annual World Masters Weightlifting Championships in August has recently not been an enjoyable experience for Pawcatuck resident Jared Coon.
Coon, founder and coach of Westerly CrossFit and Westerly Barbell, has encountered untimely and unlucky family emergencies. In 2016, his sister had emergency surgery. Two years ago, Coon tore his biceps. Last year, his father underwent emergency surgery.
"I thought I was cursed," Coon said. "Luckily, everything worked out for my family members. Family comes first."
This past August, Coon entered the 2019 world masters championships in Montreal without incident. Competing in a heavier weight class (102 kg or 225 pounds) in the men's 35 age bracket, he broke his American masters records with a snatch of 304 pounds and a clean and jerk of 375 pounds to win the divisional title.
"I went up a class, eating what I wanted with carbs and protein, and keeping my diet over 3,000 calories a day," said Coon, who turns 39 this month. "The rules changed. In the past, ties would always go the lighter guy, so it was advantageous to be lighter. Now there are no ties allowed. Whoever gets the highest weight first is recognized as the winner."
Coon broke all the American records he set in March at the masters championships in Salt Lake City. There, he lifted 363 in the clean and jerk and 291 in the snatch.
Next year at the worlds in Germany, Coon will attempt to set records in the 40-45-year-old age bracket.
"I age up next year, but it won't be any easier," Coon said. "There is a very strong competitor, Ahje Palmer. Right now I'm eight kilos off the snatch world record and seven kilos off the clean and jerk."
The fact Coon is still competing at a national or world level is an accomplishment. He's getting older and stronger. A wrestler at Westerly High, Coon never thought of himself as a clutch competitor in big events until taking part in Olympic-style weightlifting.
Olympic lifts — the snatch and clean and jerk — are major training components in CrossFit.
His lifting is the best advertising CrossFit can get.
"CrossFit's popularity has leveled off, but we're getting the everyday athlete now," Coon said. "In the past, people thought you had to specialize in a sport to do CrossFit. That's not the case. Anyone can improve the muscle growth and fitness with it."
Coon is living proof of that.
"I never thought I'd maintain this or be a world champion," he said. "I've had injuries in the past, some due to training and some not, but I've been relatively healthy lately. It won't last forever but I'm still hanging in there."