Archive for Friday, March 25, 2011

Lawrence powerlifter Brady Tanner nominated to join Team USA for the Special Olympics World Games in Greece

March 25, 2011


Special Olympian Brady Tanner to train for world competition in San Diego

Brady Tanner, a power lifter from Lawrence, will be competing in the world competition for Special Olympics in June in Greece. He heads to San Diego this week to meet his coaches and other members of the team. Enlarge video

Brady Tanner, a Special Olympics powerlifter from Lawrence, is heading to San Diego for training camp in preparation for the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece.

Brady Tanner, a Special Olympics powerlifter from Lawrence, is heading to San Diego for training camp in preparation for the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece.

Brady Tanner has more than 550 pounds of weight on his back.

That’s not his struggle, though. He’s got to dip down and touch a medicine ball so his hips are lower than his knees. That’s what the judges will look for in June when he’s competing against athletes from around the world in Athens, Greece.

He’s pushing himself for a reason.

“I want to win four gold medals,” he said.

Tanner, 31, is one of three Kansans nominated by the state to become members of Team USA for the Special Olympics World Games this summer. He’s joining 316 other athletes from around the country to compete June 25 through July 4, and he will go up against other powerlifters in three different lifts and an overall competition.

Before going to Greece, he’s heading to San Diego for training camp with Team USA. When he gets there Sunday, it will be the first time he’s met his coaches for the games, and the first time they will have a chance to evaluate him.

Brady has been ramping up his training in preparation for camp, lifting one more day than normal with his father and trainer, Gary Tanner.

“He goes as hard as he can as long as he can,” Gary said. “He has no boundaries, no limits.”

Impressive growth

Brady has been a fixture in Douglas County and Kansas Special Olympics competitions since 2000, but he wasn’t always able to do shrugs with 100-pound barbells.

Brady was born prematurely, barely over 4 pounds, and Gary cupped his palms to show how tiny he was. Brady also 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.

The older brother of two sisters, Brady was skinny in high school and started bulking up only when he hung out with Haskell Indian Nations University’s football team in the off-season.

“He just took off. He hasn’t stopped yet,” said Gary, who is the interim athletic director and head golf coach at the school.

That enthusiasm is what has taken Brady to where he is today: Preparing for the biggest competition available to Special Olympians.

“He understands that this is the highest level,” Gary said. “He really wants to do well. He wants four gold medals.”

Gary is helping Brady to push himself in preparation for that contest. They are focused on getting Brady used to large amounts of weight and squatting lower than normal, which is what the world judges will look for. The low squat means having the hip joint lower than the knee joint, which they practiced by having him squat down to a medicine ball on the ground.

“It makes it harder when I have to touch that thing,” said Brady, who competes in the 242-pound weight class. ““He wants to push me harder.”

Trip is a milestone

The training trip to San Diego will have Brady traveling with his Kansan teammates, Natasha Leininger, a track and field athlete from Manhattan, and Brian Stauffer, a swimmer from Newton.

He’s most looking forward to one thing in particular: “Meeting my coaches.”

For Gary, the trip symbolizes something different. Brady won’t be traveling with the family, but instead with teammates and coaches.

“It’s kind of the next step of him growing up,” Gary said. “With normal children, it’s, ‘You were out too late’ or ‘You wrecked the car.’ We’ll never have that. It’s kind of neat.”

The trip to San Diego won’t be all work and no play, though. The team will bond together at a baseball game, a beach party and a dance, for which Brady is particularly excited.

“I’m going to go boogie,” he said.

After the trip, Brady and Gary have about two months of training before he heads to Athens for the world games. Brady’s mother, Janie, and his sisters, Jamie Davis and Jennifer Morris, often pitch in to help him train at Haskell, where Brady is enrolled in a racquetball class.

“It’s kept our family tight,” Gary said.

Brady’s positive attitude shows through while training, and he won’t give up until he’s achieved his goals. Long-term, that’s four World Games gold medals. In training, though, it’s just squatting down low enough to touch the medicine ball.

“That’s no good at all. I’m going to get that,” Brady said.


gsxr600 6 years, 11 months ago

Guy's a beast. Good luck in the competition, Lawrence is cheering for you!

Keeping my head straight, looking a little above the horizon helps me tremendously with deep squats.

ObiWan 6 years, 11 months ago

I think we can learn a lot from Brady and his positive attitude. Go get 'em, dude!

institches 6 years, 11 months ago

The Tanner family is an awesome family and has been super encouraging to Brady as well as their girls. It is that kind of inspiration that will help Brady win those coveted gold medals.

And as you can see, Brady is a huge Jayhawk fan! Congrats Brady and best of luck!

MrClean 6 years, 11 months ago

I have known Brady for a long time. His attitude is awesome and I hope he brings those medals back to Lawrence. Everyone should have his attitude. His mom and dad are great people too!! Good luck Brady.

rousseau108 6 years, 11 months ago

Congratulations Brady!! Brady is an amazing person and will be a great representative for Kansas on the world stage. We wish you the best and know you will do wonderfully! Bring home the gold!

frank mcguinness 6 years, 11 months ago

Brady has brought a smile to lots of faces since high school and I for one am super proud to have spent a good portion of my high school career with him. He is an inspiration to all and I look forward to him bringing home the GOLD.

mrjcg2 6 years, 11 months ago

Go Brady! We'll be watching for updates!!

jayhawk9 6 years, 11 months ago

Good luck Brady! You are an inspiration to us all!

Michael Auchard 6 years, 11 months ago

Glad to see Brady's still rocking it. I remember him from back when I was in high school. Keep up the good work, man.

redearthchild 6 years, 11 months ago

Great Story LJW! I first heard about Brady at Red Dog's Dog Days workouts in summer 2008 when Red Dog introduced Brady at a workout at Memorial Stadium. Go Brady! Go Red Dog! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

salem58 6 years, 11 months ago

Good job and good luck, I remember seeing brady lift at LAC a few years back. YOUR A CHAMP!

salem58 6 years, 11 months ago


sustainabilitysister 6 years, 11 months ago

Rock on Brady!!! I love your dedication to your sport! You're an inspiration to many.

Ralph Reed 6 years, 11 months ago

All right Brady!!!!!

Go for it! Bring Olympic Gold back to Lawrence!

kupinklady 6 years, 11 months ago

Good luck in San Diego, Brady! I know that you will do well and have a good time. Can't wait for you to go to Greece. Congratulations! I am so proud of you.

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