Teen sets example in weightlifting and faith

Originally published in MormonTimes.

BRANSON, Mo. — While other teenage boys are practicing three-point shots, memorizing football plays or working on perfecting the curveball, David Dimitri Hughes heads to the same gym, day after day.

And it's paid off.

David HughesOn July 10, Hughes lifted 360 pounds on the bench press at the Southern Power Lifting Federation Competition, earning him the world record in the teen 16/17, 148 lbs. weight class. With 13 state, three national and one additional world record, Hughes' list of accomplishments keeps growing.

"He just strives for being the best at whatever he does," Lena Hughes, David's mother, said.

This aim for excellence combines with his faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to guide all aspects of this 16-year-old's life as he balances his other interests and goals with weightlifting.

Born in Russia, David was introduced to the gospel and one of his other hobbies, performing, when Gary and Lena Hughes adopted him at age 9. Now as a performer and lighting designer for the family's show, "The Hughes Brothers Show," in Branson, Mo., David shares his values with the community through participation in the family's uplifting production.

David also uses his talent of lifting to bless the community, despite the personal sacrifice of time.

"He helps people around the ward. They are always asking him to come help move because they know he's got big muscles. He's kind of become the ward moving crew, but he's always willing to help," Lena Hughes said

"If someone needs help with anything, I do that first and then either go to the gym late at night or early in the morning," David said.

Lena Hughes said her son, with the goal of possibly competing in the Olympics one day, finds time to spend approximately three hours a day working out at the gym. This time has not only improved his skill but has afforded him multiple opportunities to share his beliefs. One of the most prevalent ways he does so is by not training or competing on Sundays.

"Some of the most important competitions he would liked to go to are on Sundays, so he's had to sacrifice those competitions when they are on Sundays," Lena Hughes said.David Hughes

"I decided not to go to (competitions on Sundays), so I could go to church and partake of the sacrament," David said. "Even that's been a blessing, though, because I have gotten closer to Heavenly Father, and my lifts were better."

As his lifts improve, David continues to cultivate his talent, not only for himself, but also for others. "I want to help inspire people," David said. "If I can do it, then they can, too."

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