By Carla Thomas
At 55 and with a world win in 1998 for Olympic Weight Lifting behind her belt, Mercedes Dickerson is well positioned to take home a world record when she attends the WWF World Masters Weight Lifting Competition in Greece next week for the Snatch, Clean & Jerk categories.
Attracted to the discipline and mental as well as physical benefits of the sport, Dickerson says weight lifting became a way of life after a year of one on one training and a win during her very first competition.
“There is a release of endorphins with such intensity, the kind of high, that your body is enhanced not broken down,” she said. It’s a great response from within, not from without. “
The native North Carolinian graduate of Chapel Hill with a Masters in Kinesiology from San Jose State was recruited by Lawrence Livermore Laboratories 28 years ago and is currently an electronics engineering associate and CEO of her own company.
Very disciplined with her training schedule and diet, it’s no wonder Dickerson was able to turn her love of weight lifting and engineering experience into an invention; Hitechplates. “I designed Hitechplates because it was easy for me to understand the physics and math behind kinesiology. Force, mass, time, acceleration, placement, power was easy for me to relate to and by working at the lab, I was able to combine my personal interest in weight training, with my knowledge of plastics.”
By collaborating with a rocket scientist colleague, Dickerson designed weight plates from recycled plastic. “I was able to make plates out of recycled materials that are earth friendly and turning garbage into strength. The design of the hub has no metal so it won’t rust or damage the collar of the bar and the width surrounding the hub, makes the area thicker and snug, fitting any bar and won’t wobble.”
The colorful plates come in a variety of colors; 2.5 kilogram red plate, 5 kilogram white plate, 10 kilogram green plate. “My flagship plate is a gray 3.75 plate. I am the only one in the world that makes this size plate. It helps you increase your weights in smaller increments,” she said.
Dickerson also says the plates will float in water, the profile of the plate is larger and training outside is not a problem since the material is weather proof. “These weights get dropped all the time and rarely come apart and with this composite material you just can’t get a bigger plate for the weight diametrically,” she added.
Hitechplates are manufactured in the US and distributed worldwide in Italy, the UK, India, China and Indonesia.
“Our plates are in the military as well and are great for gymnasts, football players and anyone wanting to train or stay in shape. I like seeing what weight lifting can do to change people and my design helps make people stronger and perfect their technique faster because of the full size of the plate each time you go for the bar.”
Next week Dickerson will go for the world record in her class of 75 plus kilograms in the 55-60 age along with 18 other US representatives. “There will be 6 lifts on the platform,” she smiled.
“With dedicated preparation, when you are on that platform you know you are ready and in the interim if someone prevails over you, they earned it. So you can always feel good about what you did.”
For more information, visit www.hitechplates.com