About 2 years ago I started a series of features called, Featured Everyday Lifters. The project was to take 1 year to complete. But as I got to know more in the weightlifting community, I realized there were so many untold stories that my timeline of a 1 year project, turned into 2!!
I'd like to introduce you to a weightlifting coach by the name of Marc Chasnov. A familiar name among older coaches across the country. Hopefully after this feature, it will prompt others to get to know those that have incredible stories of weightlifting.
Enjoy Marc's story!
Marc Chasnov, The Son
Pictured above, Alan Chasnov
Marc was surrounded with barbells and plates from an early age. In 1954 New York Times published a story of a little 3 year old Marc Chasnov running on to the platform after his father won state championships.
His father, Alan Chasnov, was a weightlifter himself. He would train in his basement with a few other weightlifters. Alan built a separate 6x8 room that had a drop area where weightlifters could lift over head.
Marc shared his memories of falling into the pit and getting stitches from to time to time. Little did he know the same plates that would split his lip, would be the ones he would be lifting when he got older.
Marc described his father as a "tough bird". Once having to run 6 miles to make weight to compete at the 1964 Junior Nationals/Olympic Trials. *Junior Nationals would be considered the American Open now.
At 43 years old, Alan placed 6th in the Olympic trials and other weightlifters confused him for a vibrant 20 something year old. All encouraged him to try out again the following year. However, as a masters weightlifter and a family man, Alan didn't have much interest in competing at a greater level.
Alan's background in gymnastics is why he remained so strong as a masters weightlifter.
Marc Chasnov, The Weightlifter
Best in competition: (90kg) 125kg in the snatch, 165kg in the clean and jerk. "If you lifted weights back then you were considered odd; Something people didn't do." -Marc Chasnov
Marc never had any interest in playing team sports. However, from watching his father train, Marc started doing handstand pushups and eventually they became a daily habit of, 10 sets of 10. Once those became easy, Marc incorporated his father's low parallet's bars to make the sets more challenging.
"When I was 17, I realized that I didn’t want to play team sports. So I just went home one day and said, 'Dad, teach me' and he started showing me. Of course I was impatient..trying to go too fast.
I learned the split style though when I first started. Weighing 75 kg, I snatched 100 kg and clean and jerked 125 kg. I switched over in college and no one ever really taught me. Unless you got tied into a really good coach, you didn’t have any coaching so there was no coaching back then. You did it on your own.
I was blessed in a sense, because my father had lifted in New York. So all the great lifters in New York when I started, Larry Mintz, (who was the first person to win nationals at olympic weightlifting and powerlifting in the same year)...Nick and Butch Curry’s father, Jim.. they would always help me out. Then Dave shepherd, who was at one time the best lifter in the world, took a liking to me. So all these people, when I went to competitions, were very nice and were all very encouraging."
Around 1970 Marc began to redirect more of his time and effort from competing to coaching.
The Start of Women's Weightlifting
Marc met Karyn through her boyfriend at the time.
"He wanted to train with me so I said, 'Well let me see you squat... when you can squat 300 pounds then I’ll teach you how to lift.' He was very determined and trained hard."
Before she knew it, Karyn was interested in learning how to lift as well and asked if she could do the same as her boyfriend. His response..."Why not?!"
During this time women did not compete or trained in the sport of weightlifting. It was unheard of for a woman to be coached. As you could imagine, Marc was met with resistance by few in the weightlifting community.
Marc coached Karyn until about 1981 and soon after he would go on to train a new female lifter, Suzanne Kim. She learned of the sport through a weightlifting course Marc was teaching at Manhattanville College. Suzanne and weightlifting were a match!
Under Marc's training, she went on to win at a state and national level. Here are just a few of many great moments in Suzanne's weightlifting career: Metropolitan LWC Champion, New YorkState Champion, Empire State Games Champion, 1988 National Champion, Fourth place 1987 World Championships in Daytona Beach Florida.
I couldn't end this feature without highlighting where Marc has been the last 30 years. Take a look and if you'd like to stay in contact, please make sure to visit him on Instagram.
- 1987- Women’s World Weightlifting Championships – Assisted Suzanne Kim
- 1982 Les Petits Animaux was created as an all women's team
- 1982 Completed his Masters at Columbia University where his entire work and research was related to weightlifting. Completing one of the first biomechanical analysis of weightlifting in the United States.
- 1989- Olympic Sports Festival, Oklahoma
- 1992 A successful year for Les Petits Animaux (which by '92 included male weightlifters). 5 females competed at Nationals.
- 1993– Olympic Sports Festival, San Antonio
- 1994- NACACI Championships at the OTC
- 1996 Olympic Games, Atlanta GA. Coached his lifter, Konstantine.
- 1985-1995 Coached team members at National Championships
- After the Olympic Games, Marc took a break from coaching. At this time, the team was split between Peter Roselli getting the LPA name and Mark Cohen created another team made up of weightlifters from the New Jersey area.
- Present: Marc is a coach at New York Weightlifting Academy in Thornwood, New York and a owner of Chasnov Physical Therapy.
Advice For You, From Coach Chasnov
"Find a coach who is a perfectionist in technique and then for the first two years of your career, build up your body to develop it properly. Make your body symmetrical, test for weaknesses and correct all those weaknesses so they’re not reflected after you’ve been training for a few years.
With all women, one of the most common problems is dislocating the elbows. So women should do curls and triceps extensions and do that every workout. Most successful female lifters are more developed in their upper body than their lower body.
Focus on good technique while you’re preparing your body. You can do one legged squats, then regular squats. If your legs are symmetrical and strong, you will have a longer career"
This space was created to share stories and images related to strength sports- primarily olympic weightlifting. Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Also, I am not a blogger, this sort of happened. You will find errors in my writing. Just keep reading and enjoy the photos. I will eventually come back to fix all the mistakes. maybe...