A programs monitor with the 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron received first-place at the Mr. Olympia Pro Powerlifting Invitational Sept. 17 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Nevada.
Tech. Sgt. Benjamin O’Brien bested the competition at the invitation-only, single-ply, international event held once a year.
“The Olympia is an elite-level competition for powerlifting,” O’Brien said. “I competed in the 220-pound class and set a record in the state of Arizona with 2,204 pounds. I am currently ranked No.1 in the country in my respected weight class.”
Participants are given three attempts at meeting weight, before being disqualified and are given the option of lifting a single category or full-meet class, which lifts all three. The total of weight is added at the end to determine the victor.
“The invitations for the contest go to the lifters who are top-five ranked in their respective weight class,” said Steve Denison, International Powerlifting League president. “I have been running the Olympia Powerlifting event since 2010. We get lifters from all over the world who vie for a slot in this prestigious event.”
O’Brien competed in a full meet, open class category, which allows the participants to wear a squat suit, bench shirt or a deadlift suit. Apparel is made from single layer material and assists the lifter with heavier weights during competition.
“The apparel might be something you have to see to be able to understand,” O’Brien said. “It takes another person or two to put it on, but using the suits and shirt are very painful. Once you learn to deal with the additional weight and stress, it isn’t that bad.”
The suit didn’t give O’Brien an immediate boost of power; he had to work at it for years. Overall, he is happy with the results.
“Powerlifting was more of a hobby at first,” O’Brien said. “I felt I was good, but I wasn’t good enough. This year’s competition was bittersweet. I had not entirely fulfilled what I had set out to do, but after winning the best pound-for-pound lifter, I felt very grateful to achieve such a coveted award. I continue to train and look forward to the next event.”
For more information, go to http://www.powerliftingwatch.com.