WASHINGTON – A 74-year-old Washington man has returned from an overseas competition with a medal around his neck.

Ron Millard competed in this month’s World Master Weight Lifting Championships in the Ukraine and walked away with a silver medal.

WASHINGTON – A 74-year-old Washington man has returned from an overseas competition with a medal around his neck.

Ron Millard competed in this month’s World Master Weight Lifting Championships in the Ukraine and walked away with a silver medal.

Millard captured multiple state, national and world weightlifting championships in the 1960’s and 1990’s and has been winning contests in the past few years after he started training and lifting again at 5 Points Washington.

For Millard’s Ukraine journey, the Washington Rotary Club had a fundraising drive to help offset costs for the trip.

Steve Brown of the Rotary said their effort – Partner With The Champ - collected more than $1,600 from Washington area businesses and residents.

Turkish Airlines provided the airfare so the community funds covered hotel, meals and ground transportation.

“I think it shows how people are willing to help those who strive to be the best. I am not surprised by the response. We have a lot of giving people in this area,” Brown said.

Brown said Millard’s willingness to travel such a long way to compete shows a spirit that everyone can find inspirational.

“We do a lot to recognize our young athletes and I think it shows how people of all ages can succeed and be goodwill ambassadors for our community,” Brown said.
The American Association of Retired Persons included blog posts about Millard’s weightlifting competition on its website and Brown said they plan to turn to him for future stories.

Millard said there is no way he could’ve made the trip without Brown’s coordination efforts in the fundraising drive.

“I know some people who helped out, but some I will never know or find out, especially with the bank because it showed the list of deposits, but not everyone’s names. I thank everyone in the city who made this possible and was pleased to represent the USA, the state of Illinois and the city of Washington,” Millard said.

Millard said he was happy with his second place finish, despite some factors that weren’t in his favor including the travel and resultant tight legs, nervousness, and having a couple lifts turned down by the strict judges.

“Of course, I would have liked to have won, but the guy from Germany who beat me set three world records and that’s hard to overcome. I probably didn’t lift my best, but even if I did, I still probably couldn’t have got first place,” Millard said.

“I did beat one of the local Ukraine guys who ended up in third so that was nice,” he added.

There were a total of 594 entries from 43 different countries.

“It was very interesting to compete against those speaking different languages,” Millard said.

Millard said he didn’t get much of a chance to take in any sights or attractions while in the

Ukraine because he was very focused on the competition.

“If it was within walking distance from my hotel, I got to see it. I did visit an open air market with lots of shops. I got lost in there,” Millard said.

Next up for Millard will be next spring’s national weightlifting championships in Morristown, N.J. a competition he won the last two years.

“I would like to go and defend my title. I also found out the Pan-American competition is going to be in Chicago in 2013.

“That might be my shortest trip ever,” Millard said with a laugh.