Joe Reverdes - The People's Champion
By: Ron Robert
On September 4th, 2021, in Cranston, RI at A&D Fitness, Joe Reverdes attempted to break the World Record for deadlifting a combined weight of 1.2 million lbs in a 24-hour time frame. Joe Reverdes may have fallen short of his most recent attempt at a Guinness World Record, but he certainly won the hearts of his local community.
The event started early at 10:30 am in the morning and was full of cheering, tears of joy, hugging, praying, gospel music, pump-up music, and community bonding. The scene reminded me of something you may see at a huge church gathering. For all intents and purposes, it seemed like church to me. Joe speaks about his faith so often and how he is just following God's plan, his presence is uplifting and soulful.
Last year in September of 2020, Joe Reverdes broke the Guinness Book World Record of doing more than 25,000 squats in 24 hours. I was personally there to watch the 24-hour event and to witness the sheer magnitude of greatness called Joe Reverdes.
While I sat in the event, I thought to myself, "What is church anyway?" Of course, it's a place where people gather to give praise to a higher power, in whatever faith they believe in. Well, I wouldn't dare compare Reverdes to the Almighty, but it is not an understatement when I tell you the masses showed up to A&D Fitness in Johnston on September 4, 2021. Family, friends, and the community all gathered there to give support and praise to a man they believed in. The group of people who support Reverdes are so loyal and large in number, forget the church, Joe should run for political office (eh, scratch that, I wouldn't wish that on such a great guy!)
Reverdes was trying to accomplish something on Friday, September 4th that I have never seen before. He was attempting to break the World Record for deadlifting a combined weight of 1.2 million lbs in a 24-hour time frame. Joe is around 5'7" 165lbs and 53 years old. Reveredes is obviously in fantastic shape, but his attempt and goal still boggle my mind.
To the normal person, this attempt seems like some sort of freak of a nature pipe dream. To Joe Reverdes, this is just another obstacle he wants to overcome for pride and family legacy. He speaks of his wife Kim, his children, and his grandchildren every time he takes a breath about why he has trained for countless hours to break the record.
"I want to leave a legacy for my children and grandchildren. I want them and my wife, my best friend, to be proud," said Reverdes.
So, Joe set out to accomplish his second world record last Friday at 10:30 am the gym was full of family and friends. Supporters and sponsors had a presence there as well. Reverdes made sure to give his sponsors as much limelight as he could. Reverdes proves over and over to be a man of high integrity and loyalty. The stage was set, the event was live-streamed worldwide and the mood was as electric as it gets.
Joe went after it, on pace with his son Aaron, his trainer and coach. Aaron was front and center making sure everything was running like a well-oiled machine. Reverdes had been experiencing headaches due to hydration, but he battled through it. A few hours into the attempt Joe experienced a muscle pull. He was periodically taking breaks to get massaged and had people waiting to work on him as needed. Through the trials and tribulations, Reverdes kept battling. He was determined not to give up. His heart and his mind were 100% on board with the mission, but eventually, his body could not cooperate.
At 21 hours into the attempt, Reverdes had his daughter, Alysha Freeman deliver a tough message to the crowd. Freeman stated that her father did not want to stop and did not want to let anyone down, but things were happening to him health-wise which made it unsafe for him to continue. Ultimately, Reverdes' body gave in and he was instructed for his own health and safety to stop.
In the end, Joe deadlifted 984,000 lbs in 21 hours. This is a feat any man or woman would brag about for the rest of their life, but not Joe. While recuperating, Reverdes stopped and apologized to the masses that were there cheering him on. Joe, his wife, and children all shared a somber moment of tears as a group. However, the crowd shared tears of joy, not sadness. Behind me, I heard chants of "you are a hero coach", "we love you coach", "you are a champion to us coach." Praise and positivity rang through the gym like a cannon blast or a thundering group of motorcycles passing by.
How was Joe Reverdes still standing upright on two feet, after 21 straight hours of continuous deadlifting? I honestly couldn't believe my own eyes. As he was saying goodbye to everyone Joe was handing out hugs, appreciation, and apologies (unwarranted) like it was a family cookout. Why didn't he go in the other room, lay down on the massage table, and pass out? Didn't he want to rest or peace?
The answer is he felt obligated to thank every person there and tell them "I love you all". It was a huge lesson for me as a human being. I see individuals with unwavering affection for this man and he is giving it right back to them even during such a defining moment in his own personal life. I say defining moment instead of failure because Joe did not fail but instead he succeeded at a different task than he set out to accomplish.
Joe also had something to say to everyone about his wife Kim when it was all said and done; "I am going to devote some time to my wife, my best friend now that this is over, she has supported me and been through a lot," said Reverdes.
Reverdes set out to break his second world record but achieved a different goal. Reverdes showed everyone that even with superhuman determination and a level of uncontainable passion for a cause, you can still fall short. The real victory will come when Joe shows his beloved following how to turn that feeling of failure and loss into fuel to get back on your feet and fight again and this time WIN! That is the true sign of a champion and make no mistake about it, Joe Reverdes is the Champ.
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