Derrick Johnson

Further Personal Information
Residence
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Occupation
Athlete, Coach
Languages
English
Higher education
Political Science - Lindenwood University: Saint Charles, MO, USA
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He began lifting at age 13 at Lift for Life Gym, an after school programme for underprivileged youths in the inner city of St Louis, MO, United States of America.
Why this sport?
He heard about the Lift for Life Gym when he saw a friend bringing home trophies from weightlifting competitions. He was always smaller than the other boys his age, so he began going to the gym a few times a week to become bigger and stronger.
Club / Team
Texas Barbell Club: Austin, TX, USA
Name of coach
Ursula Garza Papandrea [personal], USA
General Interest
Nicknames
The King of American Weightlifting (Facebook page, 13 Oct 2015)
Injuries
He underwent knee surgeries in 2005 and 2011. (lindenwoodlions.com, 19 Jul 2011; theoliftmag.com, 04 Feb 2014)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
He does not watch any weightlifting videos before competitions, but will spend time watching athletes he finds inspiring, such as basketball player Kobe Bryant. "I look for that determination, finesse, aggressiveness, and that footwork." (Facebook profile, 13 Aug 2014)
Awards and honours
He was named USA Weightlifting's 2010 Developmental Coach of the Year by the United States Olympic Committee. (paradisocrossfit.com, 07 Jan 2013; Facebook page, 13 Oct 2015)

In 2006 and 2007 he was awarded the Arnold Schwarzenegger Weightlifting Championships Coach of the Year award while at Lindenwood University. (lindenwoodlionssls.com, 01 Jan 2010)
Famous relatives
His half-brothers, twins Darrel and Darren Barnes, have both represented United States of America in weightlifting. They both competed at the 2014 Junior World Championships in Kazan, Russian Federation. (riverfronttimes.com, 22 Mar 2012; SportsDeskOnline, 21 Sep 2018)
Ambitions
To coach athletes to Olympic level. (Facebook page, 05 Apr 2016)
Other information
OTHER ACTIVITIES
He is the founder and president of The Kings of Weightlifting, an after school weightlifting programme for underprivileged youths in Los Angeles, CA, United States of America. (Facebook profile, 20 Sep 2018; Facebook team page, 18 Sep 2018; kingsofweightlifting.com, 03 Apr 2018)

DIET
In 2013 in order to reduce inflammation in his body from past knee surgeries, he cut out sugar, wheat, alcohol and ibuprofen from his diet. "Now I'm retaining less water. I got the sugar out. Now I don't have that inflammation from wheat. Fish oil is all I use. I don't even use a rub containing any ibuprofen or pain killer. If I get sick I use teas and things like that to correct my digestive system." (theoliftmag.com, 04 Feb 2014)

INTERNATIONAL COACHING
In 2011 he became the first African American to be named head coach at an international competition by USA Weightlifting. He also coached Brazilian weightlifter Fernando Reis at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. (paradisocrossfit.com, 07 Jan 2013; riverfronttimes.com, 22 Mar 2012; teamusa.org, 2013)

UNIVERSITY PROGRAMME
At age 24 he became head coach of Olympic weightlifting at Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, MO, United States of America. However, in 2012 he was removed from the role following complaints he spent too much time working out and not enough time on recruiting, a decision he felt was unjust. "I'm in the weight room every day. I don't even take lunch breaks. What do I have to do, fill up the water coolers more? Mop the floor? Please tell me." (riverfronttimes.com, 22 Mar 2012)

COMMUNITY GYM
He credits the Lift for Life gym programme in St Louis, MO, United States of America, for helping to keep him and other local youths from a life of crime. "That gym was all I knew [growing up]." He returned to the gym at age 19 to coach a new generation of youths in Olympic weightlifting, and went on to be named head coach of the gym at age 23. (mainlandcrossfit.com, 28 Jul 2014; riverfronttimes.com, 22 Mar 2012)

ULTIMATE FIGHTING
In 2010 he began training fighters at The HIT Squad, a mixed martial arts gym in Granite City, IL, United States of America, founded by Ultimate Fighting Championship [UFC] hall of fame member Matt Hughes. Athletes he trained went on to fight in UFC, StrikeForce, and Bellator fighting events, as well as appear on the US reality television show 'The Ultimate Fighter'. (paradisocrossfit.com, 30 Nov 2012; mainlandcrossfit.com, 28 Jul 2014; riverfronttimes.com, 22 Mar 2012)

EARLY DAYS
He grew up in a low-income area of St Louis, MO, United States of America, called Gravois Park. His cousin was shot in a street by gang members, and his brother was involved with a gang and has served time in prison. "We used to call this place the war zone. It's tough to compare it to soldiers overseas, but you had to have that mentality to survive. For us, survival meant eating today, even though we might not have food tomorrow." (riverfronttimes.com, 22 Mar 2012)

Calendar Mar. 2020
2020-03
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
23
24
25
26
27
28
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
1
2

Annual Calendar »


Photo and Video Gallery

WORLD WEIGHTLIFTING

Sponsors