Ninety-two World Records only the beginning for high school athlete Evan Pittman
Evan Pittman isn’t your traditional junior in high school, or your traditional USA Bobsled & Skeleton member. In fact, he isn’t even your traditional youth athlete. As recently profiled in USA Today High School Sports, the 16-year-old competitive powerlifter already has 92 world records to his name, has won seven Junior Olympic Games, six world powerlifting championships, and was recently selected as Amateur Athletic Union Strength Sports Male Athlete of the Year. And while he has already been more successful than most of us could even dream of, he isn’t content just yet. Instead, Evan has his sights set on 100 world records, a feat that no powerlifter has ever accomplished while in high school or even in college.
But the results haven’t always been there for Evan, who was first introduced to powerlifting out of a self-admitted athletic necessity.
“I joined a very competitive taekwondo team when I was 10, after training in taekwondo for four years,” Evan said. “I lost badly in my first state-level meet, so I asked my dad if we could start lifting. I wanted to train to get stronger and faster.”
Evan’s father, Hal Pitman, an independent director on the USA Bobsled & Skeleton board of directors and former Rear Admiral in the Navy, never hesitated when his son wished to start lifting at age 10.
“I have trained with weights since I was a teenager, and I distinctly remember then that the kids who started at 12 or so had a huge sports advantage in high school sports,” Hal Pittman said. “When Evan wanted to start lifting, I did some research and learned that kids as young as five and six compete in both weightlifting and powerlifting, and there are far fewer injuries from lifting weights than from soccer or basketball or other youth sports.”
It wasn’t long after Evan Pittman began powerlifting that the benefits started becoming visible.
“My dad started me on the basic powerlifts,” Evan Pittman said. “We also did plyometrics and ran two miles every other day. That training, combined with lots of sparring enabled me to go all the way to the USA Taekwondo national finals and the AAU Junior Olympic Games championship later that summer as a red belt.
“During that first summer of lifting, my dad looked up the records for youth powerlifting, and realized I could break them. Instead of just using the powerlifts to become more explosive for taekwondo, we added powerlifting as another sport for me. I set a world record in my first meet at age 10.”
Hal Pittman retired from the United States Navy after a 30-year military career, where he served as a military general officer leading communications for multiple billion-dollar organizations including NATO and United States military operations in Afghanistan, and the United States Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East.
To Evan Pittman, his dad’s military background has always meant two things in their household: discipline and moving around from location to location.
“Evan is very disciplined,” Hal Pittman said. “He likes to win, and understands that at his level, hard work is the key to improvement and success.
“Because we have moved quite a bit over the years, Evan hasn't had a consistent school situation or the same friends; he has focused on his activities, his faith and his family. Those are the things that anchor him.
“We are very execution-oriented/outcome-focused people, so he probably gets his drive naturally.”
But powerlifting isn’t the only hobby for Evan Pittman.
“I started focusing on diving in middle school at age 13,” Evan Pittman said. “I took third that year at the taekwondo nationals as a black belt. I was disappointed with my result and felt I needed a new challenge. My parents encouraged diving, which is a very high skill sport, takes longer to master, and has been very challenging to me. I placed top five in the state of Arizona last year as a sophomore, but I have a long way to go.”
In addition to powerlifting and diving, Evan Pittman has also been training as a skeleton athlete.
“I have been to Park City a few times to slide,” he said. “Being on the ice is exhilarating and scary, and it's a sport where I can use my power to my advantage. I look forward to continuing to get up there to train when I can. My biggest challenge is my schedule - just making the time to do it. As it is, this year as a junior is going to be crazy. I have an AP high school schedule and homework, two workouts a day (diving and lifting) and I will also be preparing for all-state as a violinist.”
Yes, as if he didn’t have enough going on with powerlifting, diving, training for skeleton and the coursework of an AP high school student, Evan Pittman also plays the violin and has performed in several different venues. And while he admits he doesn’t really have time to “hang out,” Evan Pittman finds his rigorous schedule rewarding.
“I look at my schedule as being very productive and helping me achieve the things I need to get into a good college,” he said. “Most of my friends are centered around my sports and training. I want to be the best student, musician, and athlete I can be, and that doesn't allow for a lot of relaxing.”
A schedule without much downtime isn’t just taxing for Evan Pittman, but it requires a lot of help from his parents.
“Downtime and recovery are very important for Evan and we absolutely factor both into Evan's schedule,” Hal Pittman said. “He goes on school trips and has the opportunity to attend camps and other activities. We also flex his training to ensure he gets enough sleep/recovery time. My wife and I manage his schedule pretty closely. It is a total team approach, but we know that it’s just a few years out of a lifetime, so we are enjoying it while it lasts.”
But regardless of the hustle and bustle of Evan Pittman’s every day life, he knows that everything he is doing will eventually put him in a better position to achieve his ultimate athletic dream.
“I'd like to be an Olympic athlete,” Evan Pittman admits. “As a junior in high school, I think I have some time to figure out the right sport and the right path, so I will just continue to train hard and heavy to make myself the best athlete I can be. Being strong, fast and athletic definitely creates options.”
As for Hal Pittman, his aspirations for Evan are more simplistic and have more to do with his son’s general well being, as opposed to being sport specific.
“I just hope Evan fulfills his own destiny,” Hal Pittman said. “We are trying to give him the tools he needs to be successful, but ultimately, he is going to have to find his own way. I do hope he elects to do something that benefits society as a whole.”
*Evan Pittman’s story was recently featured in a documentary, produced by Reyna Wall and Justin Cabrera, who are both students at Arizona State University. The documentary premiered in Sept. at the AMFM Film Festival in Flagstaff, Arizona and can be viewed by clicking here.
Cole McKeel - USABS Marketing & Media Assistant - (719) 722-0522 - email@example.com