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New Grad Sets Record


Dee Ann Rexroat


Only months after graduating, Bill Donovan ’00 has reached a life’s goal. Last fall he set three world records in the 165-pound weight class at the World Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation World Championships in Belgium and Italy. He took first place in the deadlift, with a record-breaking 491 pounds. He broke the world squat record with a lift of 335 pounds.

He also received the Best Lifter Award, which cuts across all weight classes. “Think of it as taking the weight lifted divided by the body weight of the lifter. I came to 304 percent, my first time over the 300 mark—one of my major long-term goals,” says Donovan, who started lifting at age 11.

“I opened up at 408 pounds, a nice easy lift that I can do under any circumstance,” he wrote in an e-mail to several Cornell faculty, staff, and classmates. “My second attempt was for the world record: 455 pounds. Third attempt: 480 pounds. My final attempt was 491 pounds, good enough for first place.”

What’s next? Donovan (who founded Cornell’s weightlifting club and organized the Cornell Strongest Ram Competition) is a certified personal trainer and planned to retire from competition and train other lifters. But now powerlifting is being considered for inclusion in the Olympic games, so Donovan is reconsidering. He lives in Des Moines, Iowa, and is self-employed in the direct marketing field.

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