Years ago, the little intro next to my column logo said, “David enjoys competing in sports as much as watching them.”

That may not be word for word, but it went something like that. Anyway, I don’t compete much now that I’m approaching 50 and recovering from that little torn-triceps injury, but I still appreciate the relationships I’ve made hanging around weightlifting gyms over the last 31 years.

That’s why, two or three times a year, I feel compelled to write about the significant accomplishments of bodybuilders and weightlifters with Wabash Valley ties. If that’s not your cup of tea, I understand. My next column will probably focus on a more traditional “ball” sport.

But for today, I think you should be aware of the following hard-working athletes:

• Jason Irving — Competing in the bench press, the 34-year-old Irving placed sixth in the 123-pound weight class of the Beijing Paralympic Games on Sept. 11.

A Clinton resident who represented his native country of Great Britain, Irving pressed 391 pounds before getting disqualified on his final attempt at 396 because of a time-limit violation. That cost him the third-place bronze medal.

“We executed the plan exactly as we hoped,” Irving said. “My technique was rock solid.”

His 391-pound bench press beat the European record in his weight class by 26 pounds.

Irving plans to continue training but won’t compete in another major meet until next year, possibly the International Powerlifting Federation’s World Bench Press Championships at Luxembourg.

• Jim McCarty and Rocky Tilson — Former Terre Haute residents McCarty, now 48 and living in Edgewater, Fla., and Tilson, 45 and living in Morristown, were intending to compete in the 2008 World United Amateur Powerlifting world championships this weekend at Lauchhammer, Germany.

McCarty was entered in the open and masters (age 45-49) divisions of the 220-pound weight class and Tilson in the masters division of the 242-pound class. Both were slated to represent the U.S. team.

As far as we know, Tilson still made the trip. But McCarty informed me Wednesday that he came down with pneumonia recently and isn’t going. He said he still wanted to compete, but his coaches would not allow it for safety reasons.

In a local meet in Edgewater back in July, McCarty said he squatted 755 pounds, bench-pressed 440 pounds and deadlifted 645 pounds for a total of 1,840 pounds to win the 220-pound class, so he was expecting to hoist some serious weight this weekend.

McCarty hopes to recover from his illness soon so he can lift for the United States in a World Cup competition in January.

• Isabelle Turell — The fiancee of Terre Haute police officer and former competitive bodybuilder David Stamper, Turell moved to Terre Haute in February after living in Orlando, Fla., and she’s making a name for herself in the world of big-time bodybuilding.

After debuting in the sport in 2000, the 5-foot-5 Turell improved enough to win the light-heavyweight class of the 2006 North American Bodybuilding Championships and win the overall title and heavyweight class of the 2008 USA Bodybuilding Championships in Las Vegas at a bodyweight of 152 pounds, earning an IFBB pro card in the process.

Turell then set her sights set on the 2008 IFBB Atlantic City pro show Sept. 13 and placed sixth out of 18 competitors.

“I really want to qualify for Ms. Olympia and one day win Ms. Olympia,” said the 28-year-old Turell, who trains at Fitness Experts.

I have a feeling I’ll be writing more about Turell in the future.

• Tribune-Star bench-press competition — For those of you who’d like to make news instead of read about it, the Tribune-Star’s Bench Press for Education Competition is scheduled for Oct. 25 at the Terre Haute Family Y.

Weigh-in will be from 10 to 11 a.m., with lifting to start at noon.

There are five weight classes for men — 125 pounds, 126-165, 166-198, 199-220 and over 221. For women, under 125 and over 125 are the two classes available.

Entry fee is $25. Proceeds will benefit Newspapers-In-Education.

“Newspapers-In-Education [aka NIE] is a program that promotes literacy, increases hands-on learning in the classroom and develops lifelong reading habits among young people and their families,” explained David Zigler, the Tribune-Star’s circulation sales manager.

“NIE provides classroom sets of newspapers to teachers in Vigo County and other surrounding communities, along with a variety of teacher tools, resources and training opportunities. Teachers use the newspaper as a current up-to-the-minute text book. This being an election year has increased the demand for classroom newspapers. We currently supply more than 2,500 papers to the area schools. This program is funded by donations, sponsors and various fundraisers throughout the year.”

For more information about the competition or to obtain an entry form, contact Zigler by phone at (812) 231-4339 in the daytime or by e-mail at

David Hughes can be reached by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224; by e-mail at; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.

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