“If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” That’s Daniel Camargo’s message for all Olympic Weightlifting athletes.
Camargo is no stranger to big dreams. After 26 years as a coach and athlete in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting Camargo has reached a level many others only dream of. In 2000, Camargo earned his L1 weightlifting coaching certification, followed by an L2 cert in 2002. In 2006, he received his L3, which enabled him to become an assistant coach to the U.S. National team. In 2008, he received his L4, and received head coaching jobs, leading U.S. teams in competition. Then in 2014, he achieved the highest level coaching that USA Weightlifting provides when he became a U.S. Senior International Coach, but his dreams did not stop there.
Now, with the 2016 Summer Olympics fast approaching, Camargo has the potential to be named a coach on the Olympic Team. A man of true modesty and humility, Camargo had this to say:
“Well, at the writing of this interview, I have not yet been named as a coach and it is undetermined whether I will be going. Right now, the most exciting thing is the possibility of making it as a coach. Should I be blessed enough to make it, the most exciting thing would be simply being there. I don’t care where the Olympics are held, how long I’d be there, what my outfitting would look like, or if I were to be fully funded. I just want to be there.”
Dreams, like no other thing, provide us with the ability to see beyond trivial things like destinations, time, or vanity. For Camargo, his dreams are based on a fundamental belief that, “Helping others succeed and knowing I participated in other people’s successes” is what will help him achieve his dreams.
Camargo’s story goes beyond his dream to coach the Olympics, in fact, his introduction to weightlifting was by happenstance. He explains how he fell in love with the sport after getting introduced to it by one of his brother’s high school teachers.
“At the age of 12, while playing football, after having some training in gymnastics, I visited my older brother’s high school to be introduced by him to general weight training. On my very first day, a teacher at the high school who managed the weight room after school approached me. As it turns out, this teacher was, at that time, a 30 year veteran of Olympic Weightlifting. He recruited me and convinced me to try Weightlifting by telling me it would improve my football skills. I fell in love with the movements and pretty much quit all other sports that very day. This teacher would become my developmental coach and my mentor. His name was Bill “Coach Mac” McDaniel and he passed away 12 years later, shortly after I retired from the the sport (I was 21), and I took over his role on the team. To this day, I still don’t know what he saw in me that very first day we met that made him recruit me. I guess I’ll never know, but I am still the head coach of the team he left behind.”
There is certainly something to be said about the determination of a person who gives up everything and recognizes a calling. Through his 26 years of Olympic Weightlifting experience, Camargo has honed both his technique under the barbell and his technique coaching the sport. He currently coaches and programs for over 65 athletes from his home gym in Altamonte Springs, Florida. All but 20 of those athletes see him every day, the rest are what you would call remote athletes. These remote athletes drop into the gym a minimum of once per month. They also receive remote coaching while away from the gym, but his coaching goes even further.
Camargo started his website and business http://www.olyconcepts.com/, where his goal is to “educate and spread awareness about the barbell.” Enter Coach’s Eye, the software that helps him correct athlete form and technique. When asked if he found video instruction necessary in Olympic lifting or just a nice to have? He responded:
“Coach’s Eye is absolutely necessary for all coaches, but primarily for the intermediate and advanced athletes. I would think that any competent coach could critique beginners by simply eyeballing. Beginners make such gross, large errors that any critique can be done verbally or demonstrating proper movements, unless the coach wished to use Coach’s Eye to show the beginner what their doing wrong. It’s the intermediate and advanced athletes that Coach’s Eye comes into the most help with and is absolutely necessary for both the athlete and coach.”
In just one week from the publishing of this post, Salt Lake City, Utah, will host the 2016 Olympic Team Trials for Weightlifting at the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center on May 5 – 8, 2016. This is the final competition to determine who will be nominated to represent the United States in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. The United States’ top 30 athletes will compete in the Olympic Trials, which will be the final competition to determine who will become members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team.
Camargo is currently preparing his athletes to compete at the trials, one of which is renowned athlete Mattie Rogers. Aptly named the Golden Girl. A lot rests on both athlete and coach at this event. However, there is one thing we’re certain of, Camargo’s passion and spirit are what inspire us to chase our dreams. Wishing Coach Camargo the best of luck!
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