‘It hasn’t really sunk in yet’: Logan Cohn brings back national title

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, July 10, 2024

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It started off as a hobby for Logan Cohn. The Hampden-Sydney College rising senior picked up weightlifting during his senior year in high school. Now he’ll be coming back to campus this fall as a national champion. Cohn won in the U23 super heavyweight division for National Olympic Weightlifting.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Cohn said about his accomplishment. “I just know I improved my total 4 kilos from (the last competition).”

The super heavyweight division is labeled as weight category 109+, because it stands in this case for lifters that weigh more than 109 kilograms (equal to 240.2 pounds). Cohn, who is also the starting center for the Hampden-Sydney Tigers, comes in at around 255. It was actually football, or rather the desire to play football, that got him into weightlifting in the first place.

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“Going into my senior year of high school, I knew I really had to get strong to play college football,” Cohn said. “I got introduced to basic movements, I found Olympic weightlifting and really enjoyed doing it, to the point it became almost a second sport to me.”

Cohn said with powerlifting, there’s a lot of the same types of people competing, most using the same types of moves. But with Olympic weightlifting, he found there was much more opportunity to freestyle, to develop different skillsets.

“With Olympic, there’s just so many different people using different types of techniques and it’s interesting and thrilling to watch,” Cohn said.

Defining different types of weightlifting

So we’ve mentioned both Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting. Yes, there are several differences between them. And it seemed like a good idea to reach out to USA Weightlifting (USAW) for an explanation. USAW officials gave a breakdown, explaining the differences between the two competitions.

First, powerlifting focuses on overall strength and maximum (number of) lifts. Olympic lifting, meanwhile, focuses on speed, technique and power. It’s not about how many times you can do it, but how much you can handle at once. As a result, powerlifting events deal with the squat, the bench press and deadlift. Olympic competition involves performing the snatch and the clean and jerk. Showing the proper technique is just as important in this case as how much weight you’re able to lift.

Powerlifters work with heavier weights, to build strength. Olympic lifters, meanwhile, are focused on generating power, so they go with lighter weights.

Logan Cohn said he went with Olympic competition because he found it a better fit.

“An Olympic lifter, they use more movement throughout,” he said. “They’re not as stagnant as a powerlifter.”

And so he got involved in Olympic weightlifting as a senior at Benedictine College Prep in Richmond. In addition to working with his hobby, Cohn helped his high school win the 2019 Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) Division I State Championship in football. During that senior year, in his free time, Cohn started doing competitions, both locally in Richmond and around the region.

Logan Cohn competes in the present

That brings us to the present day. Cohn earned a spot in the national competition by his scores last winter. The national qualifying number at the competition was 235 and he lifted 236. He earned a spot at nationals and focused on training over the first half of this year.

“I was keeping motivation high the whole time, but I knew it would be challenging,” Cohn said. All that hard work paid off, with Cohn bringing home the national championship.

“My mom gives me a hard time about spending all that time in the gym, (but) when I won nationals, she said it was all worth it,” Cohn said. “She knows how much time and effort I put into it.”

He thanked his mom Heather, dad Stefan and sisters Gaby and Brody for being supportive as he pursued his goals.

“They’re always there for me and I appreciate it,” Cohn said.

Aiming for another goal

And now, the Hampden-Sydney Tiger has several new goals to focus on. The first of those is his senior year at Hampden-Sydney, with one season on the football field.

“After that, I’ll have most of my free time where I can start training,” Cohn said.

Now that he’s won a national title, he wants to aim higher. What’s higher than a national champ? How about competing at the Olympics? It just so happens that the 2028 Summer Olympics will be held here in the U.S., in Los Angeles, so if he can make the team, it’s possible some family could be on hand to watch him compete at one of the world’s biggest stages.

There’s work to do before that happens, however. Cohn said the requirements to even compete at the U.S. team trials aren’t set in stone.

“They’re honestly always changing, (so) I don’t know the exact number that I need to be able to hit,” Cohn said. “I just need to keep improving.”