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The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games took place in Orlando, Florida, on June 5-10, 2022. The annual five-day contest enables neurodiverse athletes and athletes with physical disabilities to feature in a high-level, competitive setting. One such male competitor recently showed out with an impressive strength figure.
On June 8, 2022, 93-kilogram athlete Kevin Cantrell completed a raw 227.5-kilogram (501.5-pound) deadlift. Cantrell’s official weight for the competition was 85.28 kilograms (188 pounds) which means he lifted 2.66 times his body weight. The athlete donned just a lifting belt for the feat.
Cantrell’s achievement drew the attention of famous bodybuilder/actor/former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who reposted the athlete’s deadlift on his Instagram with the caption, “You inspire me, Kevin!”
With his stellar performance in the books, here are Cantrell’s complete stats from the contest:
Kevin Cantrell (93KG) | 2022 Special Olympics USA Games
- Bench Press — 75 kilograms (165.5 pounds)
- Deadlift —227.5 kilograms (501.5 pounds)
- Total — 302.5 kilograms (667 pounds)
Notably, the Special Olympics USA Games offers variations of formats. Cantrell represented his native state of Ohio in the push-pull configuration. That means the athlete didn’t log a squat and only performed the bench press and deadlift.
A major proponent of equal, fair competition for neurodiverse athletes, Schwarzenegger has worked with the Special Olympics organization as a vocal ambassador for years. His former late mother-in-law, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founded the organization on August 2, 1968.
In 2017, according to the Washington Post, Schwarzenegger publicly tore down an Internet troll who made an offensive comment about the Special Olympics. After Schwarzenegger made a Facebook post congratulating athletes who competed in the 2017 Special Olympics World Games, the anonymous person replied to the Austrian and derided the merits of the Special Olympics.
That got on Schwarzenegger’s nerves.
“As evil and stupid as this comment is, I’m not going to delete it or ban you (yet) because it’s a teachable moment,” Schwarzenegger wrote in response. He continued in a full teardown of why the commenter’s message was wrong:
You have two possible paths ahead. Right now, I guarantee you that these athletes have more courage, compassion, brains, and skill — actually more of every positive human quality than you.
So take their path — you could learn from them, and try to challenge yourself, to give back, to add something to the world. Or you can stay on your path, and keep being a sad pitiful jealous Internet troll who adds nothing to the world but mocks anyone who does out of small-minded jealousy.
I know that all you really want is attention, so let me be clear. If you choose to keep going this way, no one will ever remember you.
Celebrating Cantrell’s tremendous feat seems to align with Schwarzenegger’s background and work with neurodiverse athletes and athletes with disabilities. This likely won’t be the last time Schwarzenegger sees fit to highlight an athlete competing with the Special Olympics organization.
Featured image: @schwarzenegger on Instagram