I had the chance to contact Lydia Valentin – who is arguably one of the greatest female lifter at the moment – through her friend Sayra Yever. I would like to thank her for help in getting in contact with Lydia and for her translation skills. Lydia’s achievements are many in the 75kg- category: 6th at the 2007 World’s, Bronze at the 2013 world’s, 5th and 4th at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics respectively, and after many bronze and silver medals, she also got gold at the 2014 Europeans. This is a rather brief interview were we discussed how she got started, her plans and more.
Without further ado, here is the interview with Lydia Valentin.
Here is clip about Lydia, her training and her sporting life.
1. How did you first get involved in weightlifting? Did you like it right from the start?
I started weightlifting when I was eleven, a little bit by chance. At first I did not know anything about this sport, and as I got to know more, I fell in love with it.
2. Many female lifters in Canada got involved in weightlifting at a young age. Many started because they idolized lifters like Maryse Turcotte (CAN) or Jeane Lassen (CAN). They wanted to become successful and good like them. Did you have a role model as well?
I really did not have an idol when I was young; I only looked at all the members of the Spanish team in Madrid where all the best weightlifters of the country were. I wanted to be like them and train with them. That was my goal since I was a kid.
3. Coaches have different ideas of how to start a lifter in weightlifting. In your case, what were your training sessions like when you started? How often and how long did you train?
When I first started, the training sessions were very light and we only lifted three times a week. We did not lift any real weight; we only worked on technique and correct positions.
4. As of today, how different is your training? What has changed the most?
Well now a days training has nothing to do with what it was like when I started. Now I do high performance training, where I train six days a week and I spend a lot of hours a day knowing that the more I lift, the better I will be. Unlike when I started when I barely lifted the bar.
5. Was your family supportive of your weightlifting passion right from the start?
My family has always supported me in everything, and they did the same in this case. I have to say that they were surprised at first that I really liked this sport, and they thought it was going to be just a phase, but I liked it more and more each time.
6. To date, which competition has been your favourite? Or which performance of yours are you the most proud of? Any anecdotes you would like to share with us?
I remember a lot of good competitions like this year’s European Championships, but for me the best experiences have been the two Olympic games I went to. Both Pekin and London, very different competitions for me but my best sport experiences.
7. Technique wise, what do you feel is the most important thing about the snatch or the clean and jerk?
The most important thing technically speaking both in the snatch and the clean and jerk is everything. There is nothing that is not important or relevant. We divide both movements in their phases or sequences and every phase is vital for being able to do a quality movement. There has to be a great emphasis on technique, always.
8. According to you, what does it really take to be/become a top lifter?
To be a great elite weightlifte, there are three fundamental things that can’t fail, and they are the athlete’s mental state, the physical state, and technique.
9. How is the weightlifting scene in Spain? Are athletes sponsored or paid to train? Are there any advantages (other than $) to being a top weightlifter in Spain?
Yes, elite athlete and high performance training athletes are paid for training.
10. You have become a real icon of weightlifting. You have inspired many female weightlifters to pursue weightlifting in a serious fashion. You have also shown that weightlifting can be associated with grace and beauty. How do you feel about that? Anything you would like to say to your female admirers?
Well if that is the case, I am very happy. I really like when people get interested in the sport, and if they are girls even better. It is nice knowing that I am a role model for them.
11. As of right now, you are visiting the USA. Last year you competed at the Arnold’s as well. Do you notice differences in the way American lift or coach?
Yes, I can tell the difference between American and Europe in the way they train.
Note : Here is Lydia’s lift at the Arnold’s.
12. You presened a seminar in Philadelphia as well. What did people get out of it?
I always try to teach in my seminars how to have a perfect or ideal technique, plus a variety of accessory work so each person can then apply what they have learned at their respective gyms.
13. What competition are you preparing for right now?
Right now I am preparing for the European Championships which are in April of 2015.
14. Thank you so much for agreeing to do this short interview. Any final words?