Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 3:14 PM ,

The AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl has named Olympic weightlifter Kendrick Farris as its 2012 Carl Mikovich “Sportsperson of the Year.”

“I think it’s an awesome achievement,” Farris said. “I grew up watching the Independence Bowl, and to officially be a part of it is an honor.”

Farris represented the United States in the 85kg weight class in the 2008 and the 2012 Olympic Games, placing 10th this past summer in London and eighth in Beijing in 2008.

After the 1996 Olympics, weightlifting programs were established in different cities throughout the country, including the USA Weightlifting Center on the LSU-Shreveport campus. Farris’ uncle read about the program, which taught young athletes proper lifting techniques, and signed Farris up because he was already competing in other sports and thought the program would be beneficial.

Farris took to weightlifting and has now established himself as one of the best in the country. He holds the American 85kg weight class record for clean and jerk at 203kg, which he set at the 2010 Senior Pan American Championships in Guatemala. He also owns the American record in the total category (clean and jerk plus snatch) at 362kg, which he set at the 2008 Olympics and matched two years later in Guatemala.

“To go from watching the 1996 Olympics at home with family to competing and getting to share my previous experience in London I think is an incredible thing,” Farris said. “I thank God for the opportunity and I thank God for the people I have been blessed with in my life.

“It’s definitely humbling for sure. It let’s you know that anything you believe in, if you put the work into it, you can make it happen.”

Farris credits his strong faith for what he has been able to accomplish in weightlifting. He also likes to give credit to his coach, Dr. Kyle Pierce, who has been working with Farris since he got into weightlifting almost 15 years ago.

Pierce, the director of the USA Weightlifting Center at LSUS, earned the Carl Mikovich “Sportsperson of the Year” award last year because of his work with Farris and many other young athletes in the Shreveport-Bossier City area.

“It’s very special for both of us to win this award,” Pierce said. “Kendrick is a very special person to me. He’s like a son to me. I see him as much more than just an athlete that I coach.

“It’s been great to see him over the years develop as an athlete, but even more so as a person.”

Farris joins an impressive list of local sports heroes who are past recipients of the award, including Hal Sutton (1983), Tim Brando (1992), David Toms (1997), Meredith Duncan (2001), Brock Berlin (2004) and Scott Baker (2007).

Farris will be honored at halftime of the 2012 AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl.