66-year-old power lifter competes for world record - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

66-year-old power lifter competes for world record

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While many will be recovering from too many hot dogs and fireworks, one Arlington man will be trying to set a world record on Friday.

Benching 115 pounds, Jim Yakubovsky has the form and technique. But at 5 feet 7 ½ inches, 203 pounds and 66 years old, he doesn't look like a competitive power lifter.

Coach Yak, as he was nicknamed by his history students and weightlifters at the Oak Ridge School in Arlington, only started lifting at age 40.

"I like the competition. I like the people in the sport," he said.

He lifts three hours a day, three days a week and does cardio twice a week at Stroud's Gym in Hurst.

"I actually work out now and train harder now at 66 than I did when I was 46," he said.

But age did catch up with him a year and a half ago. Yakubovsky noticed chronic pain in his right arm. He could barely lift anything or even open doors.

Dr. Michael Duffy of the Texas Back Institute told him he had a herniated disc and needed surgery.

"I think he knew it was coming because he'd been significantly weak in that arm. As a power lifter you notice those things a lot more than other people would," Dr. Duffy said.

The doctor fused two vertebrae in his neck together using a titanium spacer. Three months later Coach Yak was back in the gym.

And a few months later, unbelievably, he squatted 402 pounds at a national championship in San Antonio to set a new record.

Friday will be his biggest challenge yet. Power lifters from 18 countries will compete in Orlando for the world record. He'll be squatting against bigger and stronger men in the 60 to 69 age bracket.

Needless to say he's nervous and scared. But, Dr. Duffy isn't.

"He'll get it," he said.

Coach Yak hopes to be an inspiration to people with gray hair and no hair. Age is just a number and not a mentality.

"There's nothing you can do to stop it, but you can slow the process down," he said.

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