There was indeed a massive show of strength at CFI Fitness in Port McNeill on Saturday, as two Special Olympics BC powerlifting teams took over the gym for an afternoon of heavy lifting.
Team Dog (Calum Maclagan and Ty Cranton) travelled up island from Campbell River to face off against the hometown team, the Iron Chisel, in what turned out to be an amazing sight to behold, as the dedicated athletes set personal bests in three different events: the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift.
Iron Chisel team members Anthony Schofield, John Bee, and Dom Parsons all dug down deep in their souls during each of the three events, with the highlight being Bee (who weighs only 160 lbs) deadlifting an incredible 310 lbs on his third attempt.
Bee said he felt pretty good about how the event went, and his favourite thing about weightlifting is “pushing yourself even further than you thought you can, which makes it fun to do — when you push past your own limits it feels good and gives you a lot of confidence.”
Iron Chisel Coach Rob Engel said the show of strength from his team “was unbelievable, and you what? They had juice left. I think they could have done 10-15 more pounds.”
Engel pointed out a lot of training went into the Iron Chisel being ready for the meet, stating they have put in 380 hours of training over the three years they’ve been lifting.
The other highlight from the event was the massive “Big Dog” Calum Maclagan lifting 445 lbs on his third deadlift attempt while his coach/father George cheered him on to victory.
After the meet ended, George said Calum has actually lifted 451 lbs in the gym before, “but 445 lbs in competition is a new best for him,” adding that the meet was really all about “being here and watching the North Island’s program grow. They’re all putting a lot of work into the Special Olympics program up here, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.”
George also pointed out that “all the athletes competing today challenged personal bests, some got them, some didn’t, but they all challenged it and that’s what we were asking them to do.”
As for Special Olympics BC, George said it’s “more than a family — as a dad, when your child is born you have all these dreams of your child being able to achieve anything, and then when you find out your child has been maybe challenged a little bit and will have less of a start than others in the world, it’s tough. But then when you find Special Olympics BC, you find a family of people that want everything that you want for your child, and they will go out of there way to make it happen. I can’t say enough about what the program has done for my family.”
The Iron Chisel’s other coach, Chris Stewart, felt the meet went “fantastic — We had one person in the 700 club (Bee lifted 717 pds total) and one close to it (the 700 club means you’re an outstanding all-around lifter), and to have two at that level is fantastic.”
Stewart smiled afterwards when the Gazette asked him what’s next for his team, stating he knows wherever they go, “they can compete with anyone.”