Courtesy of Ryan King
Ryan King, Deputy with the Madera County Sheriff’s Office poses at the top of the medal stand for his gold place finish at the 2019 World Police and Fire Games.
Imagine traveling across the globe for a strength and weightlifting competition, but as you arrive before the competition, you tear a muscle in your chest.
And one of your main events is the bench press.
For Ryan King, Deputy with the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, not only did he participate in his events anyway, he won the entire event.
King traveled to Chengdu, China, for the 2019 World Police and Fire Games and competed against law enforcement agencies from all over the world. The Madera native primarily focused on bench press and push/pull events.
“I had to completely rearrange where my hands were and everything in order to keep the weight off my chest,” King said. “I was able to get past that and do what I needed to do and that was win the competition.”
The Madera County Sheriff Deputy placed first in both events and set a new world record in deadlift for his weight division.
The games are held every two years in different parts of the world and King has been representing his country since 2011. He only had positive things to say about China and all of the other countries he has competed in and against.
“China went all out. They took care of all of the athletes and it was just a lot of fun, a great time and tough competition,” King said. “It was just a great camaraderie builder with all of the countries and their law enforcement, so it was just a great experience to just get together and build relationships.”
King got started as a bodybuilder for years in the competition before a switch. Over time, he felt a need for a change to the lifting area and placed at the top, making his decision look like the right one.
“The ball started rolling from there and I continued powerlifting,” he said.
King had support from the area including the Sheriff’s office and David Rogers from the Madera County Board of Supervisors donated money, among others.
“It was really cool to have that support going over there and to just represent the county and the Sheriff’s office,” King said. “It was just a pleasure to be able to be there.”
Although in a foreign country, the hosts had their visitors in mind as they had more than 6,000 volunteers that came out and tried to help everyone that couldn’t speak Chinese, along any other questions the athletes needed answered.
The city was also promoting the event all over as billboards and screens showcased the international athletes, King sai.
King and his competitors had three attempts for each lift in both the events he participated in. This allowed all the athletes in the competition to get more comfortable.
King faced off with both Malaysia and China in the bench press event defeating both nations. The hosts (China) got third place, while Malaysia took second.
China then took both second and third in the push/pull events, but of course, King was the winner there as well.
King weighed in at 199 pounds. He benched 402 pounds and placed first in the push/pull with weights of 418 on the bench and his deadlift was 677 pounds.
His 677-pound lift beat his own world record by five pounds.
“It was really cool to beat the world record and especially since it was my recordl,” King said. “I literally had over 30 people waiting in a line for me to give them an autograph. It’s not the highest record in the world, but in this event it is.”
New experiences, new cultures
“I went to Washington D.C. and did the games there in 2015 and I met the Mongolian power-lifting team and in 2017 they show up and I wear a tuxedo-printed singlet for lifting. It’s kind if my signature thing, but they recognized who I was and they came running over and started showing me pictures of when we met the last time around,” King said. “You see these people and we all go every couple of years to different parts of the world, but not everybody speaks English.
“But from those events you have a common understanding and when you show pictures of each other, it’s just an opportunity to learn about other cultures and make new friends. Despite the language barrier, we were able to communicate through other ways and that’s really cool thing.”