In 1980, two of the world’s greatest powerlifters started their careers. Ed Coan was a 17-year-old high school wrestler, urged by his small stature to begin weightlifting. Steve Goggins entered the weight room to prepare for high school football but, after entering a local powerlifting meet, found a love for the iron that outweighed all else.

These two men devoted their lives to the sport. When speaking of the possibility of missing an attempt at a powerlifting meet, Coan said, “[It’s] death if I fail. It’s non-existent. You cannot fail, no matter what.” Goggin’s spoke of the same: “At the day of the meet, I became arrogant. To the point that [I thought], ‘you can’t touch me today.’” No matter the motivation, Goggins and Coan exemplify the honest work ethic and old-school grit powerlifting requires of its bests.

In this video interview, elitefts™ Senior Content Manager Steve Colescott interviews these two legends to find the origins of their powerlifting fame.

  • (0:55) How did Goggins and Coan enter the sport of powerlifting?
  • (1:58) What lifters did they look up to? Who were their role models?
  • (4:30) What was it like for Goggins to chase Coan’s total?
  • (6:22) Ed Coan’s lifting experience in Chicago, IL
  • (7:27) Their mental approaches to powerlifting meets.
  • (11:08) Did Ed notice Steve creeping up on him?
  • (12:10) How did the WPO era and cash prizes affect powerlifting meets?
  • (13:45) How do Goggins and Coan train now?
  • (15:36) What is the legacy of these two lifters?