Pow­er­lift­ing pays off for Win­ter­ton na­tive

Brian Ge­orge to be in­ducted into Cana­dian Forces Sports Hall of Fame

The Compass - - ORTHTE - BYMIKA REKAI

When Mas­ter Cpl. Brian Ge­orge was 15, his mother Anne bought him a set of weights so he could train in the base­ment of the fam­ily home in Win­ter­ton, Trin­ity Bay.

Some 25 years later, Ge­orge is set to be­come the first pow­er­lifter to be in­ducted into the Cana­dian Forces Sports Hall of Fame.

This fol­lows a stel­lar ca­reer that has seen him bring home na­tional medals, help get Canada no­ticed on the in­ter­na­tional pow­er­lift­ing stage, and rou­tinely lift the equiv­a­lent of a V8 en­gine block.

Ge­orge was no­ti­fied by the se­lec­tion com­mit­tee ear­lier this month, and will be of­fi­cially in­ducted dur­ing a spe­cial cer­e­mony in Ot­tawa in Novem­ber.

He de­scribed the hon­our as “over­whelm­ing,” but at only 40-years-ofage, has no in­ten­tion of light­en­ing the load on his lift­ing ca­reer.

Ge­orge hopes to com­pete at the na­tional pow­er­lift­ing cham­pi­onships later this year, and said he is “ feel­ing good” about his chances, de­spite re­cent surgery.

In­stant suc­cess

Ge­orge is cur­rently posted to CFB Shear­wa­ter, Nova Scotia, where he works as an air­craft main­te­nance en­gi­neer on he­li­copters such as the ven­er­a­ble Sea King.

He spent years lift­ing weights in base­ments and garages be­fore start­ing to com­pete in his 20s.

Ge­orge started com­pet­ing in High­land Games and strong­man com­pe­ti­tions when he was posted to 14 Wing Green­wood.

One day at the gym, a friend sug­gested he try pow­er­lift­ing.

“ I’d al­ready been train­ing for years,” Ge­orge ex­plained, “so I went to a competition in Mid­dle­ton, Nova Scotia, and I thought ‘I like this.’”

That year, Ge­orge went on to com­pete in Yar­mouth and Wind­sor, Nova Scotia, be­fore plac­ing third over­all at the na­tional competition in Cal­gary. Since then, he hasn’t taken a break, shat­ter­ing a num­ber of pro­vin­cial and na­tional records.

On the in­ter­na­tional stage

Since his first year on the com­pet­i­tive cir­cuit, Ge­orge has won five bronze medals at the mil­i­tary na­tion­als. In 2005, he rep­re­sented Canada at the Com­mon­wealth pow­er­lift­ing cham­pi­onships in Eng­land, where he placed third in his weight cat­e­gory.

In 2006, Ge­orge was a fi­nal­ist for the air force ath­lete of the year award, and a year later, placed 13th over­all at the world cham­pi­onship in Aus­tria.

“Com­pet­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally, it’s a com­pletely dif­fer­ent play­ing field,” Ge­orge ex­plained. “ It doesn’t com­pare with any­thing you’ll ever do in your life.”

In cen­tral and east­ern Europe, pow­er­lift­ing is deeply em­bed­ded in the ath­letic cul­ture, and pow­er­lifters are among the best-known ath­letes.

“ There were 1,500 peo­ple in the au­di­ence. It was in­cred­i­ble,” he re­called.

Back in New­found­land, pow­er­lift­ing has a small but de­voted fol­low­ing, and many lifters from this prov­ince have dis­tin­guished them­selves on the na­tional stage.

“ New­found­land has the great­est num­ber of Cana­dian cham­pi­ons per capita,” said Ge­orge, who spent much of the last decade posted to Gan­der.

“ Pound-for-pound, we get the most medals at na­tion­als.”

Great ca­ma­raderie

Part of the ap­peal at home, Ge­orge added, is the close re­la­tion­ships be­tween the com­peti­tors.

“It’s a great ca­ma­raderie sport,” he said, adding that while he com­petes alone, he trains with fel­low lifters who sup­port him and push him.

“ We put to­gether a gym in our hanger,” Ge­orge said. “ Ev­ery day, I train with the same five guys.”

The sol­i­dar­ity be­tween lifters also ex­tends to high-level competition.

“ The great­est thing is, when you’ve just bro­ken a record, usu­ally the first man to con­grat­u­late you is the man whose record you’ve bro­ken,” Ge­orge noted.

Mean­while, Ge­orge’s pas­sion for the sport goes be­yond com­pet­ing. He re­cently be­came a na­tion­ally cer­ti­fied pow­er­lift­ing ref­eree, the only mem­ber of the Cana­dian Forces to hold such a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

But he’s not yet ready to step to the side­lines.

He’s as com­mit­ted as ever to ex­celling in the sport.

“ I want to stand on that podium again,” he said. “I re­ally, re­ally think I have a good chance.”

Brian Ge­orge, seen here lift­ing an at­las stone at a strong­man competition in Bishop’s Falls, is to be be in­ducted into Cana­dian Forces Sports Hall of Fame. File

Mas­ter Cpl. Brian Ge­orge is shown at a re­cent pow­er­lift­ing competition. Ge­orge is orig­i­nally from Win­ter­ton, Trin­ity Bay.

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