July 08, 2013 | North America: Wisconsin

Luke is a Powerhouse!

By Christina Harris, Special Olympics Wisconsin

"He had the whole gym cheering for him… ‘Luke! Luke! Luke! Luke!' It was just amazing,” said Jeff Leohner, proudly reflecting on his son Luke’s hefty achievements at the Special Olympics Wisconsin State Summer Games. Loud and excited fans packed the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s Quandt Gym on June 8 to watch powerlifters, like 32-year-old Luke Leohner from Menomonie, push their limits. The crowd went wild as Luke, who has been involved in Special Olympics for 11 years, lifted 450 pounds in the deadlift! “I felt a tear running down my cheek,” his father said earnestly, reflecting on the shared joy he had for his son that day. “[The fans] just idolized Luke.” Luke earned gold medals in not only the dead lift, but also the bench press, squat lift and overall powerlifting combination in his division. Collectively, he lifted a jaw-dropping 1,080 pounds in all of his events. “I felt like a winner,” he said, excitedly sharing that the favorite part of his weekend was hearing the encouraging shouts from fans in the stands.

About Christina Harris, Special Olympics Wisconsin: Special Olympics Wisconsin serves nearly 10,000 athletes in approximately 180 communities statewide.
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