To say Phil Brown is a popular athlete in the Annapolis Valley would be an understatement.
He calls himself Downtown Phil Brown and he's known to everyone at the Motiv Fitness centre in New Minas, N.S.
Brown recently came back from the Canadian powerlifting championships in St. John's, N.L., with a pair of medals — two of 14 won by Nova Scotia competitors.
To no one's surprise, Brown won gold in the 66 kg Masters 2 Special Olympics division. But the 54-year-old also won a bronze medal competing in the generic (open) division.
"I've been waiting to go to the generic division with team Nova Scotia for 37 years," said Brown. "I wouldn't call myself a late bloomer, it's just how long and how hard a road I've travelled to get there."
'No regrets,' says Brown
Brown was introduced to weightlifting when he was 17. He's won 185 Special Olympics medals in powerlifting, speed skating and soccer. Competing, and succeeding in the generic powerlifting division at nationals is something he will never forget.
"It felt a little different and I just went out and did the best I could," said Brown, who operates his own handyman service in the Kentville area. "But I sure had a lot of fun doing it and I have no regrets."
Brown dedicated his success in Newfoundland to an old friend who died shortly before the nationals. Brown said Steve Miles did something for him that many other people didn't do by giving him a chance.
"He meant a lot to me because he gave me my first job, which was very nice of him to do," said Brown, who had to miss Miles's funeral because he was away competing. "He knew I had trouble reading and that I had a disability, but he had a really good heart and he helped me with my education."
Brown was part of a Nova Scotia team that had great success as they brought home seven gold medals — four silver and three bronze.
Gold medal winner Erin Chiasson competed in the 76 kg women's junior division and broke two provincial records in the dead lift and bench press.
Chiasson, a Charlottetown native who came to Halifax three years ago for school, squatted 137.5 kg, benched 97.5 kg and reached 175 kg on the dead lift.
"I'm super passionate about powerlifting and it feels good to have something you are constantly working toward and improving yourself," said Chiasson.
More records broken
Justin Quedado won a silver medal in the men's 83 kg division. Like Chiasson, he also broke two Nova Scotia records, making history in the squat and dead lift.
Quedado, who moved to Halifax five years ago from Edmonton, said his best lift at the competition was deadlifting 300 kg.
"It was the best meet of my life," he said.
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