Props to Josh Hancott

As most people in the powerlifting loop know, Josh Hancott has decided to pull out of the World Championships this year. This is kind of a big deal – Hancott was nominated first in his class, and its his last year as a junior, so why pull out? If you haven’t watched his video yet, you can see it here.

Since dropping this video a few days ago, Hancott has received a phenomenal amount of undeserved flak, from seemingly all directions. The comment which stood out to me the most is here, below. (And in fact, I wasn’t even going to write about Hancott’s decision, but this comment stuck with me and I felt like I had to put my two cents out there.)

What are these so-called tremendous sacrifices he says he made? Powerlifting isn’t a very time-intensive sport and he’s never paid attention to his diet. He has incredible work ethic in the gym but that has nothing to do with sacrifice. Obsession? Get real, we’re all obsessed about something.

To be entirely clear, I don’t agree with the above quote at all. Maybe if you’re a hermit, training hard for 12+ hours per week, sleeping 8+ hours per night and not eating whatever you want whenever you want isn’t a sacrifice, but for the rest of us, that has severe social costs. That means time with friends and family is limited. I know Josh used to really like playing ice-hockey, but you can’t do that when your career depends on you not being injured. These things make university hard, they make relationships hard, they make careers hard. I (a stranger on the other side of the world) fully support Josh – I think he’s made the best decision for himself.

More than a few people have said that Josh is selfish for pulling out of worlds, and I can’t fathom why. Because Josh is pulling out, that means someone else gets to go and represent Team Canada in his place, someone who might never have gotten the opportunity otherwise. That opportunity might mean everything to someone else, Josh would be selfish to take it when it doesn’t mean anything to him.By not going to worlds, Josh is loosing a lot of opportunity to push his personal brand and his company (Gold Signature Coaching). Not going to Killeen is actually one of the most selfless acts Josh could do right now.

As an outsider, it seems like Josh is jaded (chronically tired, burnt out, maybe depressed). There’s only so long that you can hold high focus for. Have you ever had a series of really good, high intensity training weeks, followed by a week where you just couldn’t stay focused? Or maybe when you were studying, you had a few really good days, then a day where your mind would just wander, no matter how hard you tried. Imagine taking that really good period, and stretching it out over months and years. Can you even imagine how exhausted you would be when you came down? If there is anything that can destroy your passion, surely it would be the crushing tiredness of months on end of high mental intensity.

So, to Josh Hancott (on the off chance he ever reads this) – good on you. You need to make the best decision for yourself. Everyone else can do or say whatever they want, but at the end of the day you’re the only person that you need to sleep with for the rest of your life. You need to be at peace with that person.

I honestly think (or maybe hope?) that Josh Hancott will come back to powerlifting one day in the not-too-distant future. Maybe all he needs is some time to himself, to unwind, to relax, and to feel like a human being again. My guess is sometime in the next year or two, he’ll start feeling energised, and start coming back to reclaim his world title with a vengeance. Until then, he needs to look after himself, and we all need to let him.

To summarise, if you’re sitting at home and telling yourself that Josh Hancott is selfish or weak because he has pulled out of worlds (because you certainly would never have pulled out) I suggest you take a good long look at yourself. Do you respect yourself enough to make the decision that is best for you, despite what other people think?

This post ended up sounding a lot more harsh than I meant it too, but at least it’s not as nerdy as my last one. Hope everyone’s training is going well, See you on the platform soon!

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