NEW ORLEANS — A local man was told by athletic federations that you can't be world-class in both track and field and powerlifting.
But he is proving them wrong. And at the same time, he's motivating people of all ages to set higher goals.
I watched a guy, of average size, in the Stacked Coaching gym in Metairie, doing squats. He could squat 550 lbs.
So, I got curious about his backstory, and soon found out the regular guy is a quiet world champ.
Gerald Green is the world-class athlete you've never heard of.
He is ranked number one in the world in powerlifting and track for his age. At 5' 6.5" and 165 lbs, he just broke the American record, deadlifting nearly 602 pounds.
He also holds the world record in several track and field events. So “G-force” as he is called, is not only strong, he's fast.
By the way, Green is 42 years old. He grew up in the Lower Ninth Ward.
“You'd go out from sun up to sundown. You make sure you're in home before the streetlights come on, right?" Green said.
From Lusher to St. Aug, then LSU, Green started competing at 14 years old. It pulled him out of a depression after the loss of his grandmother.
“I used to have to catch the Galvez to Esplanade,” Green said about his bus route. "From Esplanade Avenue I would run from the Galvez to Esplanade to City Park just to start training every day.”
But not only is his body strong, his mind, and perspective are too.
“I think this generation has it too easy. Everything is handed to them,” he said referring to how he went out on his own and hit the track.
And he tries to instill that in the youths he trains, not with a drill sergeant's style, but rather by encouraging them to want to do the best for themselves.
“Are you going to choose your goal or your distraction? Are you going to choose your goal or your excuse? I'm going to be honest, I don't like training every day, but I also don't like losing,” Green said.
But the same advice goes for the other end of the age spectrum.
“I spoke to a 74-year-old guy. He had just run a .59 in the 400 meters, and that was the world record for him. I said, ‘Wait a minute. You just started running at 60?’”
He believes you can literally do anything you put your mind to if you're willing to put in the work.
“Don't watch other people live their dreams while you're not trying to live yours,” Green said.
Green is on his way to Poland in March for the World Masters Athletics Championships and plans to break his and other world records in several track events.
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