- CHRIS POLAKOWSKI *
Chris was a Track & Field athlete in high school and college. He competed in the High Jump and Triple Jump, plus ran legs on Mile Relay teams. He even tackled a Decathlon in Maine in 1984 (post-schooling). He was introduced to Olympic Weightlifting as a means to improve his T&F prowess and then became interested in the former as a competitive sport in its own right. Polakowski was credited with high school records (mid-1970s) in HJ, LJ and Mile Relay and held his college’s HJ Record. He graduated May 1978 from Southern Connecticut State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education. In ensuing years Chris pursued post-grad credits in Nutrition, Philosophy of Coaching, Psychology of Sport and other courses of use in training athletes. He has been employed for decades as a Physical Education Instructor at Essex Middle School in northern Vermont. Starting in 1982 he firmly established a program for Olympic lifting at that school, founded Team Vermont Weightlifting Club and furthered his own education in related disciplines. Polakowski was certified by USA Weightlifting as a Club, Senior, and Regional Coach for WL; an LWC Referee, then a National Referee; served as Registration Chairperson for New England LWC. He has run clinics and other presentations on application of strength training to sports and related topics, in the eastern US and elsewhere, far too numerous to list here. Served as Assistant Coach, South Team, US Olympic Festival 1994. Assistant Coach 1995 National Schoolage Team as well as Junior International Team to Drummandville Invitational. In his own realm of competing athlete, Chris has been Vermont State WL Champion in 1984, 1986-’88, 1990; Vermont Powerlifting Champion, 1985; 1st Place, New England Strongest Man Competition, 1986. He served as a referee in numerous New England WL meets and hosted (Meet Director) the National Schoolage Championships in Essex, VT in 2003. Given its location in northern Vermont, Chris’s Team VT program has qualified a remarkable number of young lifters to compete at national events. A partial list would include: Bronze Medals at Junior Nationals for Wendy Klandl (1992); Sylvie Morin, Kevin Laverty, Erin Derry (1993); Lisa Taylor-Parisi (1996); Carissa Gordon, Michelle Brugger (1998). The following won Silver at the same meet: Sylvie Morin (1994); Lisa Taylor-Parisi, Carissa Gordon (1997); Lisa Taylor-Parisi (1998); Jim Ouellette (2000). Now let’s look at National Champions at Juniors: Kevin Laverty, 54 Kilos Class (1995); Julie Ouellette, 69 Kilos Class (1998); Carissa Gordon, 58 Kilos Class (1999, 2000). Silver Medal at Collegiate Nationals for Jeff Low, 76 Kilos Class (1993). These lifters qualified to compete at Senior Nationals: Gabby Velasquez (1988); Kevin Laverty (1993, 1996, 1998). Team VT Women’s Team placed 4th at National Juniors, 1994 and 2nd place, 1998: 2nd place National Schoolage, 1999. Since Polakowski’s induction, his students Carissa Gordon and Mat Fraser were accepted as Resident Athletes at the Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, CO. Gordon (currently known as Carissa Gump) competed in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. She was named to US Junior World Team several times, medaling once, plus several Senior World Teams. Fraser made Junior World Team for 2009. Additionally, 105+ Kilos lifter Ben Fuller earned two medals in Pan-American Junior Championships competitions. In all, six of Chris Polakowski’s students have attended international events. His own offspring, Jason and Katie, have also competed in Olympic WL, with the latter still holding some US Youth (formerly “Schoolage”) Age Group Records.