CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Chesapeake native Caine Wilkes seeks a perfect balance between his passion of art and weightlifting.
“A lot of the drawings come with this intense action frozen in time so its kind of somber moment in that dynamic action. That’s what I relate weightlifting to. There is a lot of strength, aggression and power involved with weightlifting, but you have to be technically sound,” says Wilkes.
He first began drawing at the age of five and much later began lifting weights and lots of them.
Wilkes studied art and English at Old Dominion University. His art helps him better understand his weightlifting. “The whole lift is very vital, but there are vital moments that could make or break you in the lift and these pictures capture that extreme focus,” added Wilkes.
Wilkes recently experienced a significant win and two gold medals at the Pan American Championships in the Dominican Republic. Wilkes lifted a personal record in both the snatch and clean and jerk and got to experience a rare moment atop the medal stand. “It was very surreal. The thrill was there and I almost forgot that they were going to play the national anthem.”
Weight lifting is not nearly as popular in the United States as it was 50 years ago, so Wilkes getting gold was big for USA Weightlifting. His father Chris said many at the competition remarked how rare the moment was. “The photographer there made the comment that he goes to many international events and films and its the first time he has heard the national anthem played at an international event. So that’s pretty cool that Caine did that for him.” said Chris.
Wilkes trains with his father and coach Chris on a daily basis at Crossfit Chesapeake. “America doesn’t always do real good in International competitions. Gold medals are far and few between so were real proud of him and real happy with him.” said Chris.
Wilkes competes in the super heavyweight division, however at 6’3″, 300 pounds, he’s small compared to the best lifters from other parts of the world. “At first it can be very intimidating. I remember at school age nationals, my first time competing in the super heavyweight class and we walked into the room to be weighed and I was by far the smallest person in the room. My dad leaned over to me and said he was sorry that he didn’t know what we were getting into,” said Caine.
Wilkes is training for Nationals which take place in later this month, but his ultimate goal is to represent team USA in the summer Olympic games in 2016 in Brazil. “This is really step in the right direction. The Olympics are two years away, but you can kind of start seeing that dream with each performance and PR. You can slowly see that dream become a reality.”