Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

July 10, 1997

2 weight-lifting officers bring back gold from police Olympics

When Pitt police officer Dominick Sciulli began lifting weights in October, he was interested in one thing ≠ controlling his weight. Normally, Sciulli, 25, tips the scales at about 300 pounds. But a serious ankle injury he received in the 1993 blue/gold football game robbed him of the ability to exercise for months and at one point caused him to balloon up to 375 pounds.

So when Pitt police Sgt. Nick Fiscante suggested weight-lifting as a means to control his weight, Sciulli was ready. The two men became regular workout partners and, last month, gold medal winners in the Pennsylvania Police Olympic Games.

Held in North Park this year, the Pennsylvania Police Olympics draws competitors from city, township and borough police departments throughout the state, as well as state police, county sheriffs and university police departments. Participants compete in various weight-lifting, archery, running, basketball and marksmanship events. The 319-pound Sciulli won his gold medal in the super heavy weight power-lifting division, which includes lifters who weigh 308 pounds or more. Fiscante won his medal in the 165-pound power-lifting division.

Gold medal winners at the state level earn the right to compete in the International Law Enforcement Olympics, which annually draws 4,000 police officers from around the world. This year's competition will be in August in Calgary, Canada. For the 44-year-old Fiscante, his gold medal actually was the ninth he has won in the Police Olympics. But he prefers to focus on the future and does not like talking about his successes. He does not even keep the medals, but passes them on to his sons. Fiscante, though, is clearly proud of his protÈgÈ Sciulli, who only began seriously training for the Pennsylvania Police Olympics six months ago. "He is an extremely hard worker," Fiscante says. "His mind set is phenomenal. This [weight-lifting] is a thing where no matter how strong you are, your mind has to take over. You have to be very mentally tough to convince yourself that you can lift the we ights. That's one of the biggest aspects of it and that's the one thing he has, mental toughness." According to Fiscante, Sciulli never misses a workout in the police weight room in the basement of Forbes Quadrangle. He also is willing to listen and follow directions.

"He's really came from nowhere," Fiscante says. "I think he is going to be one of finest lifters in the state." Sciulli says he went to the Pennsylvania Police Olympics only hoping to to make his lifts. That he won came as a surprise to him. He beat 45 other competitors to win his power-lifting gold medal.

The power lifting competition includes three events: the squat, in which the lifter squats down and lifts weights placed on the back of his shoulders; the dead lift, in which the competitor lifts weights from the floor to his waist, and the bench press, i n which the lifter lies on a bench and lifts. Every lifter gets three chances at each event. The best lift in each event is added together to determine the overall power-lifting winner in the different weight categories. "There are judges there and you also have to meet a certain criteria, do the lif ts in a certain way," Sciulli adds.

In his three chances in the squat, Sciulli lifted 525, 575 and 605 pounds; in the dead lift, 540, 605 and 625 pounds; and in the bench press, 310, 330 and 350 pounds. The 350-pound lift was disqualified, however, because the weight bumped the bench.

"I got a red light on that," Sciulli says. "There are three lights they use. If you get two whites you pass. If you get two red and one white, it's a bad lift. You have to get at least two white lights to have a good lift." Sciulli's total in the three events was 1,560 pounds. Fiscante's total in the 165-pound division was about 1,200 pounds.

"It can be dangerous because of the weights involved," Sciulli says. "One slip up and you can really get injured. It takes a lot of time, a lot of practice to have perfect form. You put 600 pounds on your back and you donπt have the right form, that weigh t is going to smash you into the ground." Although Sciulli, who also has worked at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and the medical center, earned the right to compete in the International Law Enforcement Olympics, he is not sure he will make the trip to Calgary.

"I'd like to go," he says. "It's very prestigious, but I'd have to get off work and pay to go there. I don't have any sponsors, so I am not sure yet if I can go."

–Mike Sajna

Leave a Reply