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Archive for Thursday, March 14, 2013

Powerlifter to take place among elite American Indian athletes in national hall of fame

Brady Tanner receives a hug from Special Olympics teammate Ryan Banning Thursday night honoring Brady’s induction into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame. His family and friends gathered for a ceremony at the Coffin Complex on the campus of Haskell Indian Nations University.

Brady Tanner receives a hug from Special Olympics teammate Ryan Banning Thursday night honoring Brady’s induction into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame. His family and friends gathered for a ceremony at the Coffin Complex on the campus of Haskell Indian Nations University.

March 14, 2013

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Pictured here are some of the numerous medals won by Brady Tanner over the years. Tanner will be inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame Saturday, March 16, 2013 in Kansas City, Mo.

Pictured here are some of the numerous medals won by Brady Tanner over the years. Tanner will be inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame Saturday, March 16, 2013 in Kansas City, Mo.

Hundreds of trophies and medals filled six tables Thursday night in the Coffin Sports Complex on the Haskell Indian Nations University campus.

The display was part of a ceremony honoring the achievements of Lawrence powerlifter Brady Tanner. On Saturday, Tanner will become the first Special Olympian inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Mo., joining the likes of Jim Thorpe and Billy Mills.

But for all his achievements — including three gold medals from the 2011 World Special Olympic Games in Greece and numerous national titles — Tanner’s attitude was the attribute most mentioned by event speakers.

“When the creator gave him to the Tanners, he was a gift,” Haskell administrator Stephen Prue said to the crowd of Tanner’s family, friends, Haskell students, athletes and Lawrence law enforcement gathered. “Not only was he a gift to the community and the Haskell family, he was a gift to the world.”

Brady Tanner, 32, was born with Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, a disease that slows growth and mental development.

“He started out weighing 4 pounds, he didn’t walk until 3 and talk until age 6,” Brady’s mother, Janie Tanner, said. “The fact that he could overcome things and achieve this, it’s pretty amazing to me.”

Brady has difficulty speaking, but it was hard to miss his sentiment as he thanked the crowd for all the help they have given him.

“Everyone here was so important to him,” his father, Gary Tanner, said. “He feeds off of them. (The honor) is an accumulation for all of his efforts and everyone in his life who has supported him, even if it was a pat on the shoulder.”

While the community has cheered him on over the years, it was Brady’s hard work and drive to be his personal best that made his achievements possible.

For the past 12 years, he has been lifting weights at the Haskell gym. Lately that means two-hour workouts, four times a week. Such workouts have yielded impressive results. His personal record for dead-lift is 575 pounds, while squat is 625 pounds and bench-press is 450 pounds.

“He’d come in and lift the craziest weight you’d ever seen, probably more than anyone that’s been in here,” said Cody Wilson, a former Haskell football player who lifted with and coached Tanner. “And all he’d want to know is if he did good. ‘Yeah Brady, you did amazing.’”

Tanner began lifting after another Haskell football player, Ben Baker, noticed his talent when he was with team members in the weight room. At the time, Tanner was a ball boy for the football team and his father was the head football coach.

Gary Tanner said he knew his son had a gift after his first lift. At Brady’s first powerlifting meet in Special Olympics, he won all the events he entered. From there, Gary said, Brady had to set personal goals “because he was so far above his competitors.”

Brady started competing nationally and bringing home the hardware. His career highlight came at the 2011 World Special Olympics Games when he received gold medals in overall weightlifting, dead-lift and bench-press, as well as a silver medal in squat.

“Brady never says, ‘I can’t do it,’” his mother said. “He never says no. He always continues to try to do his best, even if it’s hard. He always does it with a smile and is always willing to learn.”

This attitude carries over into other aspects of his life, from playing basketball and softball to his work as a dishwasher at Kansas University.

Brady said he appreciated being inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame.

“It feels good,” he said with a smile. “I am happy.”

Comments

Katara 1 year, 4 months ago

That's very impressive! Congratulations, Brady!

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kupinklady 1 year, 4 months ago

Congratulations Brady!!! We are all so proud of you and all that you have accomplished. Sorry we couldn't make it tonight, but will celebrate with you on Saturday night. Hope that you hadn't a good time. You so deserve this honor for all your hard work. DeeDee & David Guenther

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like_n_Lawrence 1 year, 4 months ago

Wow, way to go, Brady! You represent Lawrence well.

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southdakotan 1 year, 4 months ago

Brady, you are one of the most positive people I have ever met....you deserve this for all your hard work--very proud of you!!

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Kyle Miller 1 year, 4 months ago

Congrats Brady! I have never met another person in life thats as hardworking, positive, upbeat, loyal, caring as Brady! I was honered to have gone to LHS with Brady. Every morning when you would see him in the halls he would have that gleaming smile and politely greet you with a simple "Hello" Brady, keep up that hard work that has gotten you to where you are now, and never lose that positive attitude! I wish more people in the world had your drive and determination! Your a heck of a role model to so many people!

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Julie Craig 1 year, 4 months ago

Congratulations to a VERY special person!! We're really proud of how you represent Lawrence, KS Brady.

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congratulations_brady 1 year, 4 months ago

I had the chance to work with Brady in KU Dining services over 10 years ago. He was hands down the friendliest person I've ever met. He always had a great smile and a slap on the back for his buddies at Mrs. E's. To this day whenever I see him in Lawrence we always share a high five and a couple laughs, even on days where I didn't necessarily feel like laughing before I ran into him.

Congratulations on your great achievement, Brady. It's only the start, you'll do great things!

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obamasocks 1 year, 4 months ago

Brady you are amazing! You are one of the best people I have ever known, I hope more of us can grow up to be like you!

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Rusty Coffey 1 year, 4 months ago

I'm very proud of you Brady! Sending congrats from NM! Rusty W. Coffey

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amy1920 1 year, 4 months ago

Such a great accomplishment for you Brady! A great guy from a great family. Very well deserved!

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Deb Engstrom 1 year, 4 months ago

The reception last night was amazing. There were lots of people from many walks of life there to honor Brady. I was his high school special education teacher and I remember when he start lifting in weights classes at LHS and said that squats were "too hard". See how far he's come! Congratulations, Brady.

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