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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Strong Force

Coach Pierce sets Olympic precedent

While LSU Shreveport may not be LSU Baton Rouge, it does have a powerful force going on daily in its gymnasium facility.

In this facility you will find Dr. Kyle Pierce teaching Olympic-style weightlifting to young people of all ages and nationalities.

Pierce’s program has hosted 24 national and international weightlifting championships at LSUS since 1991 along with hosting the weightlifting programs for five countries that chose to train here instead of their own country. Each event brought national and international exposure to our area while the athletes and fans stayed in our hotels, ate in our restaurants and shopped in our local retail outlets.

The economic impact of these events however, is outweighed by the impact Pierce has on the athletes themselves. His passion for athletes and their training has brought 52 out of state and out of country students to LSUS to participate in his program and attend LSUS. But what Pierce is most passionate about is the youth in his community and their development.

Pierce and I were having lunch one day, and I asked him, “How many kids have you had an impact on, and who do you consider to be your most successful athlete?” He started calling out name after name, and through our conversation I realized Pierce has had a lasting impression and major impact on many of our local leaders that started with his weightlifting program.

Several of his weightlifters have been interns at the Sports Commission and Tourist Bureau, and it always amazes us how disciplined they are. In fact, the graduation rate and grade point average of the weightlifting athletes is some of the highest at LSUS.

When asked what his philosophy is to have such an incredible impact on so many athletes over the last 25 years, he mentions the team philosophies of Olympism.

Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example, and respect for universal fundamental, ethical principles.

The goal of the Olympic movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. Those that know Pierce and have trained under him learn his unapologetic discipline and his unwavering requirement that his athletes will train in the gym and in the classroom to build their body and their minds. And it is this teaching and dedication that leaves an impression and impact on everyone that comes through his program.

Kelly Wells is the vice president of sports and tourism for the Shreveport- Bossier Sports Commission. The Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission is a division of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau in partnership with the city of Shreveport, Caddo Parish Commission, Bossier Parish Police Jury and the city of Bossier. Visit our website: www.shreveportbossiersports.com or email Kelly Wells at kwells@sbctb.org.

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