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LSUS’ Dr. Kyle Pierce serves numerous roles in 2016 Olympics

September 07, 2016

The Weightlifting Center for High Performance and Development at LSU Shreveport is known across the globe for its state-of-the-art training equipment, athletic trainers and coaches, and the overall offerings provided by the facility.

Through his teaching and coaching rigor at the center, Dr. Kyle Pierce, professor of kinesiology and health science at LSUS had the honor of serving as the national coach for Ghana in the Rio games. It was a special privilege for the country in the 2016 Olympics because it marked the first time Ghana qualified for weightlifting in the Olympics.

"I met this guy at the London Olympics in 2012 who was working in weightlifting in Kenya and wanted me to come and teach a course there, then later Nigeria and others," Dr. Pierce said. "I was in the World Championships in Poland a few years ago and someone told me that Ghana was looking for someone to come up for the summer."

Dr. Pierce loved the idea and agreed to help with coaching education and started working with Ghana's national team. After many successes and meaningful relationships with the outstanding coach, the team asked Dr. Pierce to be their coach for the Commonwealth Games and the All Africa Games.

"We needed a handful of our best athletes to qualify for a spot in the Olympics and I helped pick the team of six athletes," Dr. Pierce said. "We went to Cameroon for the qualification event and Ghana finished fifth. I did the weightlifting coaching long-distance and I communicated almost daily with them so they brought me to the Olympics with them as their coach. It's been fun."

The encouraging coach is officially the national coach and high performance director of Ghana.

Since 2000, Dr. Pierce has been an elected official of the Coaching and Research Committee for the International Weightlifting Federation.

"The Federation have people who go out and teach education courses in mostly developing countries. I've done courses in Thailand, Malaysia, and Mongolia, to name a few," Dr. Pierce said.

More than just having a passion for weightlifting, Dr. Pierce also reaches out to young student-athletes struggling with financial, family, and personal issues to come to LSUS to train and qualify for the
Olympics. It is an uplifting and inspiring way to invite talented athletes to train on the LSUS campus and lead them to success.

"In our training center, athletes of varied abilities, ages, and gender train together," Dr. Pierce said. "They have mutual admiration and respect for each other. For example, when one lifter moves so a disabled athlete can lay down his crutches or transfer to the bench from a wheelchair. Even more inspiring are the moments when an athlete performs a personal record in training. For big lifts like these, the gym gets quiet except for a few shouts of encouragement--even for a young athlete performing a lift with 15 kilograms on the bar."

Athletes from Canada, Ecuador, Colombia, Nigeria, France, Mexico, Barbados, Seychelles and Japan have made LSUS their home for training and advancement in weightlifting. Many of these international athletes trained at the LSUS Weightlifting Center for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

"Coaches and athletes all over the world come to the Weightlifting Center here at LSUS because it is a nice training facility. Word just spreads in the weightlifting community about our facility," Dr. Pierce said. "The prices in our area are also great- coaches and athletes can stay in local hotels for affordable prices. They enjoy the Southern culture and it is nice for them to have that as they train."

Many of the nine countries who have trained at LSUS have won medals in previous Olympiad games, including Colombia who won a gold medal in weightlifting during this year's Olympic Games. These achievements speak volumes about the training that goes on at the Weightlifting Center on the first floor of the Health and Physical Education building.

For other information on the Weightlifting Program at LSUS, please visit

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