Celebrating Derrick Johnson

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”4.16″ _module_preset=”default” global_colors_info=”{}”][et_pb_row _builder_version=”4.18.0″ _module_preset=”default” global_colors_info=”{}”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”4.16″ _module_preset=”default” global_colors_info=”{}”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”4.18.0″ _module_preset=”default” global_colors_info=”{}”]

Why we celebrate Black History Month

We celebrate Black History Month to recognize and celebrate Black achievement, to serve as a reminder of where systemic racism and racial injustices still persists, and to give visibility to the people and organizations that are working to create meaningful change. This is an opportunity  for our community to do more and be more, to reflect and honor, and to take action.


To continue with our celebration this month we will be honoring a few notable Black individuals who have used fitness and wellness as a way to overcome various challenges in their lives. We will be doing workouts in honor of them to celebrate their achievements. While there are so many individuals who we could certainly recognize, we have chosen just a few to recognize for now.


Today, we recognize and celebrate Derrick Johnson. 


Not to be confused with the esteemed activist Derrick Johnson, who is the current President & CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which is a civil rights organization in the United States. The Derrick Johnson we are talking about today is a multi-time national championship winning Olympic weightlifter, all-time American record holder, and the founder and president of the Kings of Weightlifting. We believe both Derricks should be recognized and celebrated for their accomplishments and advancements in the Black community and if you’d like to learn more information on Derrick Johnson the activist, you can start here.   


Today we’ve chosen to celebrate Derrick Johnson the athlete, partly because we ourselves are athletes in one way or another, and because of what he has overcome to get to where he is today and the work he is doing to use movement and fitness as a way to help others.  


Originally from St. Louis, Mo., Johnson discovered lifting at the age of 12, as a way to “stay off the streets” and away from the violence that surrounded him and other youth in his community. He was a part of a program called Lift for Life, where he went on to be their first youth national champion, junior national champion and senior national champion, and eventually became a qualified coach at the age of 19. 


In 2008 he earned a degree in political science from Lindenwood University and created the first college scholarship program for weightlifters in the US, which was introduced at his alma mater in 2009. He was the youngest and first African American head coach of an International competition for the US. After many years of coaching in St. Louis, Johnson eventually moved to Los Angeles to continue to expand on his own personal journey. 


While in LA he found out that 5 of his former athletes in St. Louis were tragically killed. It was at that time that Johnson felt a strong calling to do something to help keep underserved kids safe and away from violence. And from there, Kings of Weightlifting was formed and opened in 2018.


The Kings of Weightlifting is a free after school weightlifting program for underprivileged youth” in South Central LA “with the goal of strengthening the community one kid at a time.” In addition to weightlifting, this organization also provides programs to mentor children in school studies, nutrition and other physical training.


Historically, Black athletes have not always been well represented in the lifting community. There have been many barriers that they have had to overcome to get to where they are now, including gyms and organizations originally not being open or welcoming to Black athletes. The work that is being done at programs like Lift for Life and The Kings of Weightlifting are helping to make this sport more accessible to these populations. 


This is just a small amount of accomplishments that Johnson has made over the years and a short list of the ways he has been an advocate and supporter of various minority groups. We encourage you to seek out on your own to learn even more. 


To honor the legacy that Derrick Johnson is building as an athlete and leader, we will be doing some lifting of our own at Tradewinds. In 2014, Derrick set a new American record for the snatch in the 136-pound division. The record was 268lbs. While we won’t be going for a snatch record today, we do have an excellent snatch complex we will be doing to celebrate an amazing athlete. 


We hope you take some time today while you are picking up that barbell, or really at any point throughout the day, to think about the courage it takes to do and be more, to recognize and celebrate Derrick Johnson for doing just that, and to think about any action, big or small, that you can take to be a positive light in our communities and beyond. 









Photo from Derrick Johnson’s Instagram (@4derrick)

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version=”4.16″ _module_preset=”default” locked=”off” global_colors_info=”{}”][/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version=”4.16″ _module_preset=”default” global_colors_info=”{}”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”4.16″ _module_preset=”default” global_colors_info=”{}”][et_pb_button button_url=”/free-intro” url_new_window=”on” button_text=”Click Here To Schedule a FREE Consultation” button_alignment=”center” _builder_version=”4.18.0″ _module_preset=”default” custom_button=”on” button_text_color=”#0C71C3″ global_colors_info=”{}”][/et_pb_button][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]