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Jackie Bar­rett will be the first Spe­cial Olympian in­ducted to Nova Sco­tia Sports Hall of Fame

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - ANITA FLOW­ERS SPE­CIAL TO THE WESTERN STAR

Off to the Hall of Fame for pow­er­lifter Jackie Bar­rett

COR­NER BROOK, N.L. — Jackie Bar­rett never thought he would make his­tory.

But he will be do­ing just that Nov. 15 when he be­comes the first-ever Spe­cial Olympics ath­lete to be in­ducted into the Nova Sco­tia Sport Hall of Fame.

Orig­i­nally from Hal­i­fax, Bar­rett moved to Gil­lams in western New­found­land in 2008 with his fam­ily. He had joined Spe­cial Olympics as a swim­mer in 1987 while in high school and be­gan lift­ing weights to help his swim­ming.

He re­ally en­joyed lift­ing and his coach no­ticed how strong he was.

“My coach said, ‘Jackie, you’re so strong. Why don’t you take up pow­er­lift­ing?”

He switched sports in 1995, and the rest is his­tory.

“I gave up swim­ming to fo­cus on pow­er­lift­ing,” said Bar­rett, who moved to Cor­ner Brook about a year ago. “That def­i­nitely paid off.”

He has al­ways en­joyed the com­pe­ti­tion of pow­er­lift­ing.

“It’s a test of my strength,” he said. “It’s a chance to prove I’m one of the strong­est ath­letes.”

Re­tired from weightlift­ing since 2015, he now vol­un­teers with Spe­cial Olympics in Cor­ner Brook and cur­rently helps coach two younger pow­er­lifters for the club.

“I was an ath­lete with Spe­cial Olympics for 28 years and now I’m a peer men­tor and coach with the Cor­ner Brook Spe­cial Olympics Club,” said Bar­rett.

HON­OURED

Bar­rett found out he had been cho­sen for the Nova Sco­tia Sports Hall of Fame ear­lier this year when he re­ceived a phone call from Bruce Rain­nie, pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Nova Sco­tia Sport Hall of Fame.

“It was hard to be­lieve at first,” he said. “I was re­ally ex­cited. The Nova Sco­tia Hall of Fame is one of the most pres­ti­gious and one of the most dif­fi­cult to get into in the coun­try. It’s not just a big hon­our for me, it’s also a big hon­our for all of the Spe­cial Olympics ath­letes all over Canada.”

Get­ting into the Nova Sco­tia Sport Hall of Fame is in­deed not an easy task. A list of 100 nom­i­nees is pared down to only five by a panel of 36 ex­perts, in­clud­ing cur­rent and for­mer ath­letes, broad­cast­ers and oth­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to Spe­cial Olympics Canada, the fi­nal five must meet nine bench­marks: dom­i­nance in their sport, achieve­ment (mea­sured by awards and medals), con­sis­tency, longevity, skill range, “wow fac­tor,” depth and qual­ity of com­pe­ti­tion, per­for­mance un­der pres­sure and le­gacy.

Bar­rett re­ceived 10/10 in nearly all bench­marks, Rain­nie said in a re­lease an­nounc­ing the in­duc­tion.

Bar­rett is es­pe­cially hon­oured to be in­cluded with the other in­ductees. Ath­letes Jus­tine Col­ley (bas­ket­ball) and Suzanne Muir (soc­cer) are grad­u­ates of St. Mary’s Univer­sity, where Bar­rett — who works in the tech­nol­ogy field — stud­ied com­merce.

“It’s an hon­our to be in­ducted with Jus­tine and Suzanne, and also Jody Shel­ley for hockey and Mor­gan Wil­liams in rugby. Th­ese are high-cal­i­bre ath­letes. I’m re­ally ex­cited to get that hon­our,” said Bar­rett.

Bar­rett has also been named

Spe­cial Olympics’ Male Ath­lete of the Year in both New­found­land and Nova Sco­tia and across Canada. In 2015, he re­ceived the Spe­cial Olympics Canada’s Dr. Frank Hay­den Life­time Achieve­ment Award.

In 2015, on the heels of his record-break­ing per­for­mance at the 2015 World Spe­cial Olympic Games in Los An­ge­les, he was nom­i­nated for the pres­ti­gious Lou Marsh Tro­phy as Canada’s top ath­lete. He lost to Carey Price, the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens’ all-star goal­tender.

“My in­duc­tion into the Nova Sco­tia Sport Hall of Fame is not only a big hon­our for me but also ex­cit­ing for the 47,500 he­roes across Canada, the Spe­cial Olympians them­selves,” said Bar­rett.

The Nova Sco­tia Sport Hall of Fame In­duc­tion Night takes place Nov. 15 at the Hal­i­fax Con­ven­tion Cen­tre.

CON­TRIB­UTED

Jackie Bar­rett com­petes at the 2015 Spe­cial Olympics World Games. Orig­i­nally from Hal­i­fax, the Cor­ner Brook res­i­dent known as the “New­found­land Moose” for his heavy weightlift­s will be the first-ever Spe­cial Olympian in­ducted to the Nova Sco­tia Sports Hall of Fame next month.

Jackie Bar­rett

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