Newfoundland and Labrador athletes, from left, Jackie Barrett (powerlifting) and Eleanor Hobbs (swimming) wave with the Special Olympics flag.
— Submitted photo
No matter where he goes, Jackie Barrett has a knack for breaking records.
Barrett, a 40-year-old Gillams resident with autism, was up to his old tricks this past weekend as he got the nod as the top overall performer in the powerlifting discipline at the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C.
“It feels good because as a result of being the top performer pound-for-pound it means I have a good chance of possibly being named to Team Canada for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles,” Barrett said Monday after arriving home in the wee hours of the morning from Vancouver.
Registered in the super heavyweight division, Barrett snagged gold medals in bench, squat, deadlift and all-around en route to being chosen best male lifter — based on the Wilkes powerlifting scale — at the event.
Barrett’s squat of 275.5 kilograms at UBC set a Newfoundland and Labrador generic record in the men’s super heavyweight division (125.5 kilogram), meaning he holds the overall provincial record, not just for Special Olympians.
Three years ago in Athens, Barrett made himself a household name when he broke the squat record at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games with his final lift of 267 kilograms.
Back in 2012 at a competition in Atlantic Canada, Barrett broke another generic record when he had a dead lift of 300 kilograms.
Team Canada’s roster for the world event in Los Angeles will be announced in September and Barrett has his fingers crossed that he will earn a spot.
“If I get named to Team Canada I’d be the first Canadian Special Olympian ever to be named to Team Canada for the World Games four times in one particular sport,” he said of an event held every four years just like the Olympics.
Despite his success on the national scene, Barrett isn’t one to rest on his laurels. His competitive nature has him pushing himself even harder because there are some impressive athletes coming up the ranks with hopes of knocking him off the pedestal.
“In Special Olympics these days you have to push yourself to be better on a regular basis due to the fact that other nations are catching up in their powerlifting programs,” he said. “So, in order to stay on top you have to go one step further.”
Time will tell what the future holds for the Gillams strongman, but it appears there are fellow Special Olympians from this neck of the woods poised to find their niche in the sport.
Daniel Moores of Corner Brook is one of them.
Moores shared the limelight in Vancouver with two gold and two silver as a competitor in the 100-kilogram weight class.