Seaford man wins two gold medals at Senior Olympics

By Tony E. Windsor

A Seaford man walked away with two gold medals in the recent Delaware Senior Olympics weight-lifting competition. Bob Larkin, a retired Naval Officer, competed in the Olympics weight-lifting events held at the Wellness & Recreation Center at Delaware State University, Dover on Sept. 19. Larkin competed in the age 70 to 75 division and was able to win the competition by bench pressing 175 pounds, the highest in his division and a new record for his age division at the Olympics. He was also able to do a repetition lift of 18 reps with a weight of 110 pounds, which is 70 percent of his actual body weight, and was the highest in his age division. Last year, Larkin attended the Delaware Senior Olympics as a spectator. He noted the successful lifts of those competitors who lifted in his age group. He believed after seeing the events that he had a good shot at doing well in the next Olympics weight lifting events. Larking said he has been involved in exercising in gyms since entering the United States Navy in 1959. Most recently, Larkin has been working out at the Powerhouse Gym in Seaford. When he decided he would compete in the 2009 Senior Olympics he started to amp up his workout routine and sought the support of Powerhouse trainer Dylan Vickers. Generally using weight machines during his workouts, Larking now had to begin using free-weights to prepare for the Senior Olympics. "I never realized the significant difference in using free-weights," he said. "Where I could push 130 pounds on the machines, when it came to attempting to lift that same amount on free-weights, I couldn't budge it," he said. Vickers began to train with Larkin three days a week over the course of about 10 weeks leading up to the Olympic events. "Dylan helped me to get all my muscle groups working together and develop my upper body strength. It was also important that my rotator cuff was in good shape because this can easily be damaged when doing weight lifting," Larkin said.

Vickers went with Larkin to the Senior Olympics event, coaching him and spotting for him during his lifts. "During training we realized that when I would do my lifts starting at 160 pounds and increasing in five-pound increments, by the time I got to my third lift of 170 pounds I just couldn't get it. So, Dylan felt I was using all my energy on the first two lifts so by the time I got to 170 pounds I was spent out. We decided I would start at 165 pounds and in doing this I was not only able to get the 170 pounds up, but I developed the strength to push the 175 pounds and set the record," Larkin said. Last year Larkin set a goal to make a new record at the Senior Olympics, which he accomplished. So, what about next year? "I am planning to continue working out and then go into training mode shortly before the next Senior Olympics. I am looking to set a new record of 180 pounds and increase my rep lift from 18 to 20 reps," he said. Larkin is an area wood carver and demonstrates his craft at the Ross Mansion during the annual Christmas holidays. He taught wood carving at the Ward Museum for 10 years and continues to teach at his home every other Tuesday night. He is also a member of the Seaford District Library Steering Committee and serves as a public relations liaison. Larkin retired from the U.S. Navy in 1980 as a Naval Commander with the Joint Chiefs of Staff stationed at the Pentagon, in Washington, D.C. He is married to the former Jane Willy of Seaford.

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