Happy Valley-Goose Bay man lifts new record at powerlifting championship in Florida

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T.J. Gear, pictured in this file photo, started powerlifting five years ago. (Jacob Barker/CBC - image credit)
T.J. Gear, pictured in this file photo, started powerlifting five years ago. (Jacob Barker/CBC - image credit)
Jacob Barker/CBC
Jacob Barker/CBC

T.J. Gear of Happy Valley-Goose Bay lifted his way to second place and a new bench press record at the 18th Pan-American Powerlifting Championships in Orlando, Fla. over the weekend.

It's the first competition Gear has featured in since the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to events and international travel 18 months ago.

Gear, who has been powerlifting for five years, told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning he immediately got to work when the 18th running of the powerlifting championships was announced.

His best shot ended up breaking a record for that event.

"I lifted 195.5 kilograms, which is about 430 pounds," Gear said on Wednesday. His division was 93 kilograms and open to all ages.

"I guess it's just the competition of it all, and I mean you really compete against yourself to try and get better every time."

According to Guinness World Records, the heaviest bench press ever completed was 401.5 kilograms, or just over 885 pounds.

Gear successfully completed nine of his 10 lifts in this competition, which consisted of three squats, three bench presses and three deadlifts. The heaviest lift completed in each round counts toward the total score for each athlete.

Gear isn't a stranger to the weightlifting game, and said anybody who wants to get started in powerlifting just needs a little bit of a interest and the will to get stronger.

He currently owns and operates Gear's Gains Fitness Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, helping others to reach their fitness goals.

But his work doesn't stop there.

Gear is preparing to hit another international competition, this time across the pond in Halmstad, Sweden at the end of September for the two-week World Powerlifting Championships.

"It's pretty well the highest level that you can go in classic powerlifting, so I'm pretty excited for that," he said.

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