Saturday was a big day for powerlifters at Iron Beast Barbell gym in Gainesville.
The gym hosted the powerlifting portion of the annual Georgia Games, with Special Olympians and various weightlifter competing, while notable bodybuilders such as Lee Haney were on hand to sign autographs and meet fans.
“To be out here is very special,” said Haney, best known for winning the most Mr. Olympia titles with eight. He is also former Chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports during the Clinton administration.
“Particularly in the fact it creates the opportunity for people who love health fitness and work very hard getting themselves in great shape. This gives them the opportunity to display that.
You have your Special Olympics here and they really have to go beyond their natural realm, so it’s very inspiring seeing them.
Then of course, you have those who participate in powerlifting events on a regular basis and are here trying to break records and establish new records. This is where I’m from, I got my foundation from powerlifting, and as I’ve always taught in seminars and certification organization in order to be a good bodybuilder or athlete, you have a good powerlifting foundation.”
Also on hand to greet guests were Oakwood resident Cheryl Cooke and IFBB certified bodybuilders Cassandra and Wendell Floyd, who are siblings.
Cooke recently won an NPC Coastal USA competition at the Gwinnett Center, which qualified her for the North American Championships in Cleveland, Ohio Sept. 2-3. If she wins that event, she’ll join the Floyds as an IFBB bodybuilder.
“This was great and I was glad to be a part of it,” Cooke said. “To see the people with special needs and disabilities is inspiring to me. I have a daughter who is disabled and that’s actually what got me started into being fit and physical and taking care of myself so I could take care of her for the rest of her life. To be able to lift her and be there for her — she’s my inspiration.”
Wendell Floyd spent a lot of time offering tips to those at the event.
“The advice I give is to give them education on nutrition and weight training,” he said. “Georgia is one of the top three obese states in the country. You have to have an active, day-to-day routine in order to combat some of the great foods we love to eat.”
Eric Head, who competes for the Georgia Iron Dawgs weightlifting team was on hand and won the Beast Challenge, which is lifting your own weight as many times as possible. The 5-foot-2, 139-pound Dawsonville resident lifted 140 pounds 54 times.
He’s the current world record holder in bench press for his size and weight, having lifted 501 pounds.
“I think its good there’s a local meet like this that a lot of people can come to and lift and just really enjoy the sport,” Head said.
“It’s been impressive to watch.”
Equipped powerlifting winners include George Bradley (148 pounds, 50-54 age class), John Collier (220, open), Wesley Cowen (242, 40-44), T. Moon (275, 45-49), Jim Haskinson (308, 46) and Chris Simpson (308, 52). Raw powerlifting winners include Jeremiah Kay (165, open), Joseph Tackett (165, junior), Miguel Pacheco (165, 35-40), Ken Johnston (198, 50-54), Jaive Peaks (242, 30-35) and Joe Franklin (275, 35-40).
Asa Davis, 15, won the junior division in full power.