By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports
It’s been six years since Kendrick Farris competed in his third and most-recent Olympics, the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. Does Farris miss being America’s best and among the world’s best?
That’s a trick question.
“I still feel I’m the best in the world,” Farris told The Journal. “I just have taken my focus and channeled it into other things, but from a competition standpoint I still love it. It’s just the bureaucracy and stuff behind the scenes that deters the competitive spirit.”
Farris, 35, prioritizes another longtime passion – to make communities (especially his hometown of Shreveport) better places.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity to serve my community,” said Farris, whose “Bless the Gym” organization (BTGForever.com) aims to help “people seeking truth in and out of the gym.”
Farris believes some people just need to get out of their own way.
“Sometimes you can only see what you’re experiencing,” he said. “We’re right there for each other for a reason. We just have to be better. That’s why we have another day – to go over the things you’ve done well and correct things we could have done better. We just help people get better every day.”
Farris and his wife Brittany have a blended family of seven, including their daughter Oryah, who will soon be 2.
The star who grew up in Stoner Hill succeeded with his BTG philosophy on the weightlifting platform. He made his Olympic debut in Beijing in 2008 and boasts a sixth-place finish. He’s credited with a seventh-place effort at the London Games in 2012 and an 11th at the Rio Games in 2016.
He was also crowned a champion at the 2010 Pan American Weightlifting Championships. Just months before the Rio Games, the Byrd High product broke the U.S. record with an 831-point effort (370 pounds in the snatch and 461 in the clean and jerk).
“The thing I miss the most is meeting different people (at the Olympics),” Farris said. “I still do that, but it’s in a different arena.”
Farris’ multiple international appearances led him to be intrigued by archers and table tennis athletes.
“The archers, I was amazed by their ability to focus – they’re going all day,” Farris said.
“The table tennis athletes – they were some of the coolest people. The way they move you would think they were wiry, but I like the people who are chill. They definitely didn’t give the table tennis vibe to me.”
Ultimately, conversations with other Olympians had a common theme.
“People are people — no matter the sport,” Farris said. “I know the focus it takes to be elite — whether it’s an individual or a team sport — so I wanted to know how they did it. They are the best in the world at what they do. It would come up eventually.”
Farris admits a few gray hairs have emerged, but he loves when they mislead folks at seminars.
“Some of them know (my background), some of them don’t,” he said.
When Farris the Olympian is suddenly on display, their eyes light up.
“I can feel it in my body. I can tell how I move certain weights,” Farris said. “I feel really good. It’s not like I look at old pictures and wonder, ‘How did I used to hold that weight?’ ”
“It’s still in there. That’s the beautiful part. I’m fired up every day. The fire still burns.”
Now, others get to benefit from Farris’ drive to be the best in the world.
Photo courtesy BTGForever.com