- ROBERT SWEENEY SR. *
INDUCTED: 2013 (elected 2011)
CATEGORY: Significant Contributor
Bob Sweeney has been an active Masters athlete with international experience, a Meet Director in the Woonsocket, Rhode Island area, a Club Coach, a National Referee, an elected New England LWC Officer, and a general volunteer helper at contests in New England for many years. He is the first member of Hall of Fame inducted into the category of Significant Contributor, in recognition of his having “worn many hats” in the sport in our area. Bob began competing in Olympic WL as a teenager in 1963. He was certified as a National Referee in 1983 and distinguished himself competing as a Masters lifter starting in 1987, primarily in what would equate to present-day 69 Kilos Bodyweight Class. In fact, he was elected to the Pan-American WL Federation’s Hall of Fame in 2006. Wherever Bob competes, he also volunteers to help the meet run smoothly, even taking a referee’s chair when he should be warming up for his own lifts. He volunteered at the Senior National Championships for 1983 and National Masters held in Seekonk, MA three years later. By this time he was hosting (Meet Director) competitions himself in RI, starting with the Sherwood Open (1982/’83), then a meet at Burrillville High School that ran 1987-’99, followed by Power Shack Open and Thunder Mist Open–these were in downtown Woonsocket in early 21st Century. In 2005 Sweeney brought American Masters Championships to the Woonsocket area. Around this time he also served a term as Vice President of New England LWC. As a Masters lifter, Bob captured Gold Medals at the American Masters Championships in: 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005. At same meet he won Silver in: 1998, 2000, 2003, 2008. In National Masters Championships Sweeney got Silver Medals in: 1988, 1996, 2005. Bronze came his way in: 1991, 1995, 1999, 2001-’04, 2006, 2009. On other occasions he placed between 4th and 7th in Nationals. His medal history in the Pan-American Masters is no less impressive–Gold in 1991, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006; Silver in 1998, 2000, 2002; Bronze 1999 and a 4th place in 1996. On the occasions Bob was able to travel to the World Masters Championships, he made the trip worthwhile: Gold Medal, 2002; Silver Medal, 1996; Bronze, 2005. Additionally he finished 4th, 5th or 6th in at least five other appearances. In autumn of 2007, unfortunately Bob Sweeney suffered a serious stroke. But he wasted no time in starting the process of rehabilitating himself and resuming training for Weightlifting–notice that he has won medals since that time! And as of May 2013 he still holds several New England Masters Records.