KS One special Cherokee Nation citizen will be traveling in
2011 to the birthplace of Olympic competition Athens, Greece.
Brady Tanner, of Lawrence, will be competing
for Team USA in powerlifting at the World Special Olympic Games
in Athens. Brady has Rubenstein-Taybi Syndrome, which delays mental
growth, impairs speech and classifies him as trainable mentally
handicapped. However, his lust for life and happy-go-lucky attitude
Tanner didnt get started in serious
competition until age 21. His father Gary was the head football
coach at Haskell Indian Nations University for 14 years. A player
from his fathers last recruiting class was a powerlifter and
had trained individuals in powerlifting for the Special Olympics.
The player took Brady under his wing and trained him.
Tanner was hooked and has been lifting
ever since. The 30-year-old has added more than 100 pounds to his
frame since he began lifting.
Tanners first competition was with
Special Olympics and resulted in a gold medal. He lifted alone until
two years ago when his success and enthusiasm drew interest from
other athletes in the area who joined him.
He was greeted with immediate success
in competition and has never lost a regional or state meet, winning
every one since 2000. In 2006, he took part in his first Special
Olympics National Games where he won gold medals in the bench press
and deadlift. He had to settle for a bronze in the squat, but torn
cartilage in his knee was thought to be the problem.
Tanner has also inspired other powerlifting
organizations to add a Special Olympic category to their roster
when he joined. The Natural Athletic Strength Association named
Tanner its 2008 National Courage Award recipient and 2009 Athlete
of the Year. He is also the groups Powerlifting and Power
Sport National Champion.
The World Association of Bench and Deadlifters
also recognized him as their World Champion for 2003-05 and 2007-09.
He also received its Outstanding Lifter Award in 2003-05 and 2007.
Tanner earns everything through hard work
and dedication. He spends four days a week in the gym putting in
around two hours per workout. That hard work allows him to lift
415 pounds in the bench press, 625 in the squat, and 575 in the
Powerlifting is not the only sport the
5-foot-7-inch fireball turns heads in. He also has a gold medal
in basketball and a silver in cheerleading. He doesnt stop
there as he competes in soccer, volleyball, softball and track and
When away from competition, he doesnt
slow down. He has served as the ball boy for the Haskell football
team for 21 years, along with being a special student there. And
he has worked at one of the cafeteria dorms for 10 years at Kansas
If you would like to help Brady reach
his goal of four gold medals in Athens, an account has been set
up for fundraising at the Douglas County Bank in Lawrence.