Elite #23 Phil Davi
Updated: Apr 21
Phil Davi The strongest lifter you have never heard of. Back in the early 2000s Phil was a guy who was making a stir in the CA powerlifting scene training alongside Matt Lamarque. For those of you who don't know Lamarque benched 800 @ 220 at a time when those weights were reserved for the SHW division. Phil didn't seem far behind in the bench but was a more well rounded lifter whereas Matt was a one lift wonder. I always say Powerlifting is a sport of the moment and a sport that forgets it's hero's. Here is a great example and a story that almost no one knows...I'm not even sure Phil knows.
I'm going to say the year was 2005, maybe 2006. I brought a couple of Diablo lifters to a meet in San Francisco. I had heard of Phil, knew who he was, maybe even met him. I don't recall that part. What I do remember is how close Phil was to history that day. Phil got called on depth on an 848 squat and technically bombed out of the meet. It was a very close call, I remember thinking the lift was good but the judges didn't agree. He went on to bench 661 and pull 771 that day in the 220 class. Now, if that squat had passed he would have totaled 2281 at 220 which would have at the time been second historically to only Ed Coan! There was no fanfare, no talk of what almost was and the history books don't record almost passed squats. It's a shame as Phil never had got to demonstrate his best day.
Phil joined Diablo after a layoff from training and wanted to rebuild and cement his place in history. I always marveled at how Phil had the ability to rile people up in the on-line community. He was quite the polarized figure for a time. To me, Phil was always a great teammate. He drove from well over an hour away to be a part of the group and was always a benefit to have on the training floor. I remember after we finished our max effort squat day he shows me his new bench shirt. We had just finished a punishing squat day, completed the accessories etc. He asks me to help him with the shirt so I put it on him. I said, "looks like it fits right. Let's try it on Thursday." Phil looked at the guys and said, load 7 on for me. What?!? So, no warm up, no practice in the shirt after a max squat day he gets on the bench and takes out 7 plates (675). At the time the all time world record was 705@198. He proceeds to take it down to about a half inch from his chest then pushes it back up. Stands up and says, "I think this will work." What the hell did i just watch? I wish Phil had been able to stay long enough to challenge his previous best shape. I remember gearing up for a home meet Phil tore his quad. I figured he was out of the meet which was tough as he was going for some big numbers in the 198 class. He comes limping in on meet day a few weeks later. His leg black, blue and green. I asked him to start helping, he said something to the effect of, "what? I'm here to lift. I told you I was in this meet." I didn't think it was a good idea but somehow Phil pushed himself under 705 and squatted it. Then came limping out showing a rare smile and said, "maybe you were right." That's the kind of guy that Phil was to the team though...he said he was in the meet and went out on his shield.