First Take – American Weightlifting: The Documentary
First Take – American Weightlifting: The Documentary (FtAWD) is a documentary film directed by Chris Hardwick and produced by Funny or Die. It was released on February 13th, 2017. FtAWD features interviews with some of the most notable athletes in America’s weightlifting scene including Josh Waitzkin, Brandon Lilly, and Mike Tuchscherer.
The film covers the rise of American weightlifting from its humble beginnings in the 1980s through today’s Olympic champions. It also explores how these athletes are using their platform to make a difference in society and inspire others to do good deeds.
In 1983, two friends, Dave Tate and Brian Shaw meet at a local gym and begin training together under the name “American Weightlifting”. Over the next few years they compete against each other in international competitions and eventually become national champions. They soon attract the attention of the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), which sponsors them as trainers and coaches.
Eventually, they both decide to leave NSCA to form their own organization called American Weightlifting Federation (AWF).
Over time, the AWF grows into a major force in weightlifting worldwide. While competing in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, they attract a lot of attention when they achieve the highest team points total for Team USA. The movie then follows their careers as weightlifters, and their ventures into other sports such as strongman and mixed martial arts (with varying degrees of success).
Cast of Characters Edit
Mike Tuchscherer – Mike is a professional strength athlete and owner of Power Company Barbell Club in Iowa. He currently holds the American records in the bench press (SHW division) and total (ALL divisions).
Randy Stokes – Owner of The Edge Gym and competitive powerlifter. He was invited to Team USA Trials for the 1984 Olympics. He is known for his signature squat style which has become known as the “Stokes Squat”.
Buz Agnew – Owner of CrossFit Pottstown and multiple time Crossfit Games competitor.
Brandon “Wolverine” Conway – Owner of Crossfit Advantage. He is a 4-time Crossfit Games competitor and top ranked Crossfit athlete.
Mike Moomey – Owner of CrossFit 915 in New Orleans. He is a 4-time Crossfit Games competitor.
Dave Durante – Owner of CrossFit 808 in Hawaii. He is a 3-time Crossfit Games competitor and winner of the 2016 Crossfit Team Series.
Christian Lucero – Owner of Westside Barbell Club in Oregon. He is a 2-time USAW National Champion and 2-time IPF World Champion.
Tait Fletcher – Writer, actor, host, and 2-time Crossfit Games competitor. He is also the founder of Unqualified Media.
Jon North – Owner of Crossfit Vital in Florida. He is a 2-time Crossfit Games competitor.
Nicole Carroll – Owner of Crossfit Los Angeles. She is a 2-time Crossfit Games competitor.
Donny Thompson – Owner of Crossfit 970 in Colorado. He is a 4-time Crossfit Games competitor and winner of the 2011, 2012, and 2018 Crossfit Team Championships.
Helen Stephens – Owner of Crossfit Southie in Boston. She is a 4-time Crossfit Games competitor and winner of the 2015 and 2016 Crossfit Team Series.
Jesse Marunde – Owner of Jesse Smith Strength Systems in Missouri. He is a 3-time Crossfit Games competitor and winner of the 2013, 2014, and 2016 Crossfit Team Championships.
Pete Wallner – Owner of Crossfit 810 in Michigan. He is a 2-time Crossfit Games competitor and winner of the 2015 and 2016 Crossfit Team Series.
Marlene Moll – Owner of Marlene Moll Fitness in California. She is a Crossfit Games competitor and winner of the 2018 Crossfit Team Series.
Mike Vazquez – Owner of Crossfit 811 in New Jersey. He is a 3-time Crossfit Games competitor and winner of the 2018 Crossfit Team Series.
Kara Webb – Owner of Crossfit Virtuosity in California. She is a 2-time Crossfit Games competitor and winner of the 2016 Crossfit Team Series.
Ben Pughe – Owner of The Lift in Kentucky. He is a 2-time Crossfit Games competitor and winner of the 2018 Crossfit Team Series.
Zuzana Hatavova – Owner of Crossfit Outcast in Canada. She is a 3-time Crossfit Games competitor.
Heather Anderson – Owner of Crossfit Newberg in Oregon. She is a 2-time Crossfit Games competitor and winner of the 2014 Crossfit Team Series.
Hazel Jackson – Owner of Crossfit 609 in New Jersey. She is a 4-time Crossfit Games competitor and winner of the 2017 and 2018 Crossfit Team Series.
Mike Guido – Owner of Fortitude CrossFit in New Jersey.
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