On the Rise
Goad siblings continue tradition of weightlifting excellence
by Chris Goltermann
Robin and Dean Goad are no strangers to the abilities needed to compete at the highest level in weightlifting. Between the couple, there’s at least 13 national titles in addition to accolades at the international level.
It’s all the more reason why they feel their 17-year-old daughter Sydney now has some decisions to make about her own future heading into her final year of high school after another record-setting performance at last weekend’s National Youth Championships in Daytona Beach.
They include her deciding to pursue a potential bid to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
“She had an excellent meet,” said Robin of Sydney, who after years of competing under weight for her divisions came within a pound this year. “Now it’s a matter of if Sydney wants to look at Rio in two years or waiting six. I told her when she gets back [home] she’s got to sit down and really think about what she wants to do.”
The eldest of the couple’s three outstanding youth lifters got a chance to see just how much she’s grown in the past season. The results were astonishing — even for a standout who’s already dominated at a national level.
The Newnan High senior broke six more national records at the 48kg weight class, earning “Best Lifter” honors among all 16-17 year-old girls the prestigious USA Weightlifting event. It followed another star effort from late January at the National Junior Championships in Colorado.
More importantly, by breaking a Junior American record for ages 20-under, it provided a glimpse of her potential should Sydney wish to make a push for the Rio Games. It would mean major changes for a well-rounded 17-year-old who excels not only in both weightlifting and gymnastics, but in the classroom.
This spring, Goad was a top contender at the Georgia High School Association State Gymnastics Championships.
“She’s been in control these last four years. She just doesn’t slow down,” Dean Sr. said of Sydney, who went straight from Daytona Beach to Orlando to join friends. “She’s still really young. Even nineteen is young for a weightlifter. Most don’t start to begin to hit their peak until around 26 or so. It’s a gamble.”
Still, there were signs of potential early on, having been asked as a 10-year-old by Arnold Schwarzenegger to show off her technique at his annual bodybuilding festival.
“If she waits [until 2020], that’s fine,” Dean added before joking, “She’ll take after me. I was a late bloomer.”
Meanwhile, the Newnan couple may have two more rising stars under their roof as well.
Younger siblings Rubylyn, age 10, and Dean, who turns 12 next month, also were among the top-three among Best Lifter in respective 13-under girls and boys divisions.
Competing among the lightest and youngest athletes in the 31kg, 13-under division, Rubylyn placed third with top efforts of 19kg in the snatch and 28 kg in the clean-and-jerk while her total score of 169.91 placed her second-best in the Best Lifter results when factoring in age/weight ratios.
Dean also was second among Best Lifter finishers despite competing against older competitors in the 13-under boys division. With top lifts of 41kg in the snatch and 56 in the clean-and-jerk, he topped the 35kg weight class for his age group while finishing with a combined score of 237.58.
He was also in line for a potential invitation to Colorado Springs to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
Robin, who placed fifth at the 2000 Summer Games, was among the first female youth competitors when USA Weightlifting held its first national event in 1987 at a time when the sport was dominated by men. A generation later, a pioneering effort has opened the door even wider.
“She’s lifted more than I lifted at her age,” Robin said of her oldest daughter .“She made a huge, huge improvement. Before this, it seemed out of reach. In light of this past week, she’s right there in her progress. But I told her it will change the focus how she trains.”
Sydney’s recent efforts last weekend included record lifts of 62kg (136.68 pounds) in the snatch and 83kg in the clean-and-jerk (182.98) while also setting a new American mark for total weight.
Her total score of 258.15 put her first among the event’s Best Lifter category.
USA Weightlifting’s National Championships will be held July 17-20 in Salt Lake City.
Whether or not Sydney makes a bigger push toward Rio may yet to be determined. But the choice, will be totally in her hands.
“We don’t try to live out our dreams through them. We’ve lived ours,” Robin said. “We’re there to offer help with our knowledge. They have the tools.”