Brady Tanner is Lawrence’s Special Olympian and, today, its greatest inspiration.
Tanner, 31, a powerlifter, is a member of Team USA that will be competing in the Special Olympics World Games from June 25 to July 4 in Athens, Greece. Team USA includes more than 300 athletes from around the country.
Tanner will face other powerlifters in three lifts and an overall competition.
“I want to win four gold medals,” he recently told the Journal-World.
Tanner believes he can do it.
Tanner is now in San Diego for training camp with Team USA.
His story is compelling. Tanner, who was born prematurely, had Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, which impaired his speech and delayed his mental growth. But it also meant he was unable to think negatively, so for his whole life he’s only been positive and happy.
He became an athlete, where it’s common to experience more downs that ups, so his personality is perfect for someone who is competing at the highest level.
He was an average-sized teen until he started hanging out with the Haskell Indian Nations University football team in the off season. He tried weightlifting and discovered he had a special talent.
He has been competing in Douglas County and Kansas Special Olympics since 2000 and has improved his skills each year, challenging himself to do better every time.
“He goes as hard as he can as long as he can,” said Brady’s father, Gary. “He has no boundaries, no limits.”
We can all learn something from Tanner: Try new things, and, if you like it, see where it takes you.