USA Weightlifting Features Unsung Heroes: The C...

Unsung Heroes: The Coaches that Propel Athletes to Success

By Kevin Farley | April 09, 2017, 1:25 p.m. (ET)

At pinnacle moments in an athlete’s life, the spotlight of success and glory rightly shines upon them. 

But any athlete will tell you, they wouldn’t make it to the podium without great coaches pushing them toward success.

Team USA’s two newest World Champions— and World Record holders— are coached by two men who have developed them into the World Champions they are today.

“I have been working with the kid since he was 10 years old,” Kevin Simons, Harrison Maurus’ personal coach told USA Weightlifting, moments after Maurus set the Youth World Record with a 192kg clean & jerk. “This was the most proud moment of my life in athletics.”

It is the coaches that, day in and day out, work with their athletes about technique and program their training that will propel them to athletic glory. It is often times a thankless job to everyone but the athlete.

C.J. Cummings, crowned Youth World Champion in Bangkok, Thailand this week, is coached by Ray Jones. Jones has coached the Cummings family of weightlifters, CJ, his older brother Omar and older sister Crystal. The talent of his athlete isn’t lost on Jones.

CJ Cummings hugs coach Ray Jones after winning 2016 Junior World Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia

“They say, “The bottom line is we really can’t tell you why,” Jones said. “There’s no explanation for it. There’s no explanation for why CJ is doing what he’s doing.”

Something also not lost on Jones is that CJ, 16, is still a kid. 

“He always tells me, ‘Go have fun. At the end of the day, the sun will still shine, people will still love you, so go out and have fun,’” Cummings said. “He’s a mentor.”


For athletes seeking glory— either on the World stage or the platform of their local gym— should have a good coach in their corner. With more than 10,000 certified USA Weightlifting coaches around the world, finding that crucial portion of their path to success is just a phone call away.


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