You could almost hear the sweat dripping off of Dan Boyd. As the other powerlifters waited in a motionless semicircle around him, he crouched, positioned the bar across his shoulders and unracked it with ease. He began the decent, hit 90 degrees and EXPLODED!
With the weight balanced at his full height, Boyd roared.
The 430-lb. squat was a new record in Special Olympics Minnesota, and he was the new king of the weightlifting platform. The crowd went berserk, everyone jumping around, screaming and pushing to congratulate the new champion. Tears streaming down his face, Boyd finally found Andy Cameron and pulled him into a huge bearhug. “Coach Andy,” he shouted above chaos. “Thank you! Thank you so much for helping me do this!”
It was a gold-medal moment that will live forever with athlete and coach, even as they work together for more.
That about sums up Cameron’s vision for more Minnesotans with developmental disabilities like autism, down syndrome and cerebral palsy and Lions United Fitness Center.
More opportunities for more athletes. More experienced coaches, personal trainers and sports nutritionists. More understanding of the special needs and challenges faced by athletes like Boyd and their families. More adaptive exercise equipment. More goals achieved, more confidence built and more friends made. All in a more affordable – free – facility where athletes with disabilities can train to get healthier, stronger and better prepared for competition and life.
They’ll roar like champions. But first, we need to build the place.