Grandfather, grandson take first-place medals in world powerlifting competition

Jim, left, and Tyler Kiszelik each won first-place medals in their respective divisions at the World Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation championships on June 25 in Muskegon. They were the first ever grandfather-grandson duo to compete in the WDFPF event. (Courtesy Photo)

Quick, think of your grandfather; and grandfathers, your grandson.

Are fond recollections of fishing trips and baseball games conjured up?

Perhaps.

Now, what about powerlifting?

That’s a little less likely.

But for Jim Kiszelik and his grandson Tyler, a junior at Manistee High School, powerlifting has been the sport the two of have bonded through. And successfully so.

The Kiszeliks were the first ever grandfather-grandson duo to compete in the World Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation championships on June 25 in Muskegon, and each walked away with first-place medals.

“I think it was absolutely wonderful,” Jim said of the experience. “We had a lot of fun. It’s a fun thing to do together.”

Jim, 70, won first place in both the bench press and the dead lift in his division (Masters 7) and weight class (82.5 kg) while Tyler, 16, took first in dead lift in the Teen 2, 110 kg division.

While the two members of the American Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation have competed in various events before, this summer’s WDFPF competition, which featured lifters from 12 different countries, was the first international event either had entered.

“The Worlds are held (in the United States) about once every four years,” Jim explained, “and when they have been in this country, they’d be down in Indiana or Illinois. So to be up here in Michigan was something special, too. I knew I wanted to do this from last year when I found out where they’d be. And that gave us plenty of time to train for it.”

The grandfather-grandson relationship can be one of the most cherished of the family tree. And a year and a half ago, the Kiszeliks found another branch to share.

“I’ve been power lifting for probably 10 years,” Jim said, citing the Senior Olympics as the first competition he ever entered. “And about a year and a half ago Tyler took it upon himself to eat right, stay in shape and he became interested in the powerlifting. I’ve been training with him ever since.

“We do a lot together anyway, but we work out together now, too.”

Tyler recalls lifting with his grandfather at an early age, but didn’t become competitive with it until recently.

“When I was younger I weight lifted a little bit with him,” Tyler said, “and then I decided to do some weightlifting to lose some weight and I just stayed with it because I like the feeling.”

Tyler said he also likes the atmosphere of friendly competition.

“When I got (to the World Championships ) there was a ton of people from different countries and everything,” he said. “I know in some sports there’s a lot of rivalry, and maybe even hate for the other team. But everyone cheers everyone else on at competitions like these. Nobody’s really hoping for your downfall. That atmosphere is just fun.”

Jim agreed.

“It’s really a competition against yourself,” he said. “And the camaraderie you have with everyone else is unbelievable.

“For us, it’s a progression thing, really,” he added of the four-day-a-week training regiment he has with Tyler. “I kind of leave it up to him as to what he thinks he can do, and then I kind of tailor that to fit and put together exercise programs for us.

“It’s a method that has worked for us for years now.”

And one the two plan to make work for years to come.

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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