By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Georgia Games returns to Gainesville in a new venue
Cleve Tatum adds more weight to the bar during a lifting session at Ironbeast Barbell Gym Wednesday afternoon. This Saturday, the Georgia Games weight lifting competition will be held at the gym’s new location on Shallowford Road at the old Blueridge Shopping Center in Gainesville. - photo by Scott Rogers | The Times
It won’t be in the same venue, but the Georgia Games Powerlifting competition returns to Gainesville for the second consecutive year today.

Last year, Riverside Military Academy played host and was listed as the site for this year as well, but a scheduling conflict left the Games scrambling for a new site. Luckily, the Ironbeast Barbell Gym’s grand opening had been planned for months and only had to be moved slightly ahead of schedule in order to accommodate the competition.

Weigh-ins for the event took place Friday night and will continue from 7:30 to 9 a.m. today. The competition is set to begin soon after.

The weightlifting event today is a good example of combining the Olympic mind-set with a more modern competition. Classic olympic-style weightlifting usually features just one type of lift per event, but the competition today will feature several different lifts in order to appeal to the more modern powerlifter.

Mike Kidd, coach of Georgia IronDawgs powerlifting team and general manager of the Ironbeast Gym, which is located on Shallowford Road, said he is “as happy with being able to do this as they are that I’m doing it.”

“I got a call from the Georgia Games committee and they asked me ‘are you interested in hosting?’ I said ‘sure, let’s do it,’” he said. “(The gym) is ready now. We’re ready and just waiting for the weigh-in and the lift.”

Two members of the Georgia IronDawgs will be competing in the event, but most will be helping run the event, Kidd said. “They are contributing their time to help, and that’s really going to make things run smoothly.”

One of the two IronDawgs competing, R. Garry Glenn, said the new gym “has come light years in the last few weeks.”

“I think they were originally shooting for the end of July or the beginning of August to open it up,” Glenn said. “But instead, their first day was (Thursday).”

When the Georgia Games committee realized there was a scheduling conflict, they knew the best way to find a new site in Gainesville would be to contact long-time competitor Glenn.

Conveniently enough, Glenn’s coach and friend Kidd was planning to open just such a site.

“There was a conflict and I knew Mike Kidd was working on the gym,” Glenn said. “I told him that this might be a good opportunity if he could get it running in time. I just cannot give them enough credit in getting the gym ready to go.

“They’re going to have some top-of-the-line stuff for people to lift with.”

Kidd is expecting around 50 competitors who will compete in divisions based on gender, age and weight. There will be a full-power competition, consisting of squat lift, bench press and dead lift, and a bench press only competition. First-, second- and third-place lifters in each weight class within each division will receive a Georgia Games medal. Athletes who qualify for more than one division may compete in a maximum of two and all competitors and volunteers will receive a Georgia Games T-shirt to have something to remember the event by. Glenn won’t need a T-shirt to remember the competition. After undergoing a recent partial hip replacement, this will be his second meet back after being forced to take time off from an activity that he has participated in for much of his life.

“I’m about 90 percent back,” Glenn said. “When you get to be 56, you kind of have to watch yourself.”

Most of all, Glenn is happy that Kidd has opened a local gym that will serve as a home to the IronDawgs.

“This is going to be the home gym for the IronDawgs,” he said. “And I’m really happy that we’ve got it back in Gainesville.”

The Georgia Games is a collection of more than 40 sporting events focused on offering amateur athletes in the state an opportunity to compete with others of a similar skill level. It began in the early 1990s as a promotional tool to gear up support for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Regional events