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Not long ago, after yet another record-breaking performance by Larry Pacifico, several of his opponents sat around a table in St. Louis and tried to assess his effect on them and on the sport of powerlifting. Several beers and much talk later, one of them said, "The man is so damn good it's depressing." The table agreed that was close to the bone.
Other friends and opponents feel the same way. Consider the following conversation between a U.S. television executive and Ray Nobile, a 220-pounder from Scotland, which took place last November in Turku, Finland, before the world championships.
TV executive: "In the interview we'll ask you, 'What's your main ambition in lifting?' And you'll answer, 'To beat Larry Pacifico.' "
Nobile: "Och, but ah canna' beat tha' Pacifico."
TV executive: "Hey, this is just for TV. Just say that's your ambition."
Nobile: "Ma main ambition is to no make a great fool of meself."
TV executive: "Look, just say it sort of jokingly."
Nobile: "Ay, it'll be a joke, all right, when ah say it and then he thrashes the arse off me."
TV executive: Silence.
Nobile: "Will this thing be seen in Scotland?"