Contact: Joe Smith
ETSU faculty member preparing athletes for Sochi Olympic Games
JOHNSON CITY – The final countdown to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games has begun, and for East Tennessee State University's Dr. Brad DeWeese, that means the upcoming days will be filled with round-the-clock phone calls, texts, emails and Skype sessions.
DeWeese is the strength, speed and conditioning coach for nine athletes and two alternates scheduled to compete at the winter games.
"We're communicating on a daily basis," said DeWeese, an assistant professor of Exercise and Sport Science in ETSU's Claudius G. Clemmer College of Education. "The athletes have been overseas since late December, and a lot of our conversations right now are centered on getting the right nutrition, supplementing their training while traveling, and just dealing with the stresses of being an elite athlete."
DeWeese began coaching these athletes while serving as head sport physiologist for the U.S. Olympic Committee's Winter Division in Lake Placid, N.Y., and has continued working with them since joining the ETSU faculty in August 2013.
The nine athletes and two alternates will compete in the bobsled, skeleton and luge competitions at Sochi. They include five-time world champion and gold medalist Steve Holcomb, three-time Olympian Lolo Jones, former NFL Green Bay Packers player Johnny Quinn, Dallas Robinson, Nick Cunningham, Cory Butner, and Steve Langton on the bobsled team, along with alternates Chris Langton and Katie Eberling; Kyle Tress on the skeleton team; and Chris Mazdzer on the luge team.
In addition to the bobsled, skeleton, and luge games, DeWeese has overseen the physical preparation of world-class athletes for international competition in various other sports, including track and field, freestyle ski, biathlon, karate, canoe/kayak, and the marathon. He currently serves as head strength and conditioning coach for the USA Canoe/Kayak National Slalom team.
To date, his athletes have achieved five world championships, 12 national championships, and 90 medals in international track and field, karate, canoe/kayak, luge and freestyle ski competitions.
"I am now into my second complete year of training with Brad and I have seen phenomenal results," said Quinn, who is competing in the Olympics for the first time. "I turned 30 years old this season and I am in the best shape I have ever been in during my athletic career. Brad's program helped me set the power clean record at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, becoming the first athlete to power clean over 400 pounds."
Tress, who is also a first-time Olympian, added, "Training with Brad over the past four years has been one of the highlights of my athletic career. He changed my entire outlook on training. Prior to working with Brad, I was frustrated with my progress and doubting my future in sport. I lacked intensity and motivation.
"Brad's knowledge, his scientific approach, and his incredible dedication to his athletes' success was invigorating. I had concrete goals and expectations, and I started to enjoy training again. The best results of my career followed shortly after. "
DeWeese holds a B.S. degree in sport management and a master's degree in nutrition and dietetics from Western Carolina University and an Ed.D. degree in education and leadership with a focus on elite athlete/coach development and program design from North Carolina State University.
He is certified as a USA Track and Field (USATF) level-two coach in sprints, hurdles and relays; a USATF certified instructor; a USA Weightlifting (USAW) sport performance coach; a USAW club coach; and a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
"I always have a great relationship with my coaches," Dallas Robinson said. "Dr. DeWeese is different than most coaches, though, as he encourages intelligent feedback, questions and discussions. I personally have found that athletes perform best if they know why they are doing something, and Dr. DeWeese definitely takes the approach that an educated athlete is a better athlete. I have learned so much from him and I am also honored to call him a friend."
Lolo Jones added, "My training with Brad has been interesting because I was so used to doing track-specific workouts and being successful with those that I had to really step out on faith to work with a new coach. Immediately Brad broke me down to basics and began to fix my bad habits that I had formed over the years. He also had to break me down and retrain my mind that I was no longer training to be the best 100 meter sprinter but I was training to be the best 50 meter sprinter.
"He did this over time and when I complained I wasn't running enough, he would modify workouts to make me feel like I was running more like a track athlete, but they were still bobsled-specific workouts."
In 2012, ETSU earned designation as an official Olympic Training Site in Weightlifting.
The XXII Olympic Winter Games will take place Feb. 7-23.
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