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Olympic Weightlifting Visionary Carl Miller Dies


Carl with Fish Stevens and Clarence


My oldest and best friend, Carl Miller, devoted his life to Olympic Weightlifting.


Our first encounter was at the Teenage Nationals in California. He had been introduced to Olympic Weightlifting by Olympic champion Frank Spellman. I was about 17 and Carl was 14 or 15.


We didn't meet again until he and Lynn moved to Santa Fe. He was already an experienced strength coach, with a master's degree in exercise physiology. Lynn was his great helpmate, wife, and mother to his children whose support allowed Carl to pursue his life's passion.


Carl with their two boys, Shane and Kyle


As a member of the Peace Corps, he had coached Olympic lifters in South America and worked with the Japanese Women's Olympic Volleyball and Olympic Weightlifting teams. 

He wrote to me at the Albuquerque law office where I was an associate, reintroducing himself. We were close friends from then on.


He was teaching Olympic Weightlifting to students at Santa Fe Preparatory School, putting on contests with the pomp and circumstance of an international event. The kids ate it up. (I know because he had me come up to be a judge.)


He was a great proponent of Olympic lifting not only for the sport itself, but also for its benefit in building strength and speed for other sports, and as an aid in conditioning for general fitness.


A few years later he and Lynn opened a gym in Santa Fe where he taught Olympic-lifting-based movements to men and women of all ages and conditions. A pioneer in this method of conditioning, doctors sent their patients to him for rehab.


He continued that successful gym formula for many more years in a larger location, sharing coaching duties with his second wife, Sandra, a super fit woman with an engaging personality.


Carl also worked with strength coaches for many NFL and NBA teams.


As Olympic lifting aficionados know, he visited many places as our National Weightlifting Coaching Coordinator getting to know our lifters and coaches on a personal basis. (He wore out my projector in the process.)


He also traveled to Russia (3 times), Bulgaria, and other leading countries in the world of Olympic lifting, engaging with foreign lifters and coaches.


Perhaps the pinnacle of his weightlifting career was sharing coaching duties with Tommy Kono at the Montreal Olympics.


He authored five books on Olympic lifting.


Somehow, he also found time to win a seat on the Santa Fe City Council as a Republican—very rare in our most liberal city.


 Carl with other Santa Fe City Councilors


His son, Shane, has become an excellent Olympic Weightlifting coach with his own gym in Santa Fe with wife Kim. Their son, Rise, is marvelously articulate and a natural athlete.


His other son, Kyle, a national champion chess player in his youth, is now a financial advisor, who plays soccer on the side.


Many more details of Carl’s amazingly productive life can be found in the autobiography he completed in 2018.


*  *  *


Olympic lifting has lost a great proponent and Carol and I have lost a great friend.


We offer our sincerest condolences to Lynn, Sandra, sons Kyle and Shane, daughter-in-law Kim, and grandson Rise.


 November 1, 2020


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