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In October the family of Gale Gillingham had to say good-bye to our Father, Friend and Hero. He fought in the trenches at offensive guard for ten years against many of the legends in the game. Dad was a Green Bay Packer Hall of Famer. He played in two Super Bowls and five Pro Bowls. He was on the bottom of the pile in 1967 when Bart Starr scored the winning touchdown in the legendary Ice Bowl. My brothers and I have competed against the best in the World in Strongman and Powerlifting, but we are still convinced that the Oldman was one of the strongest men to have ever walked the planet. He was proud of his years that he challenged the best in the NFL, but lived out his life as quietly as he could in the small town of Little Falls, Minnesota. He had put football in the past, and enjoyed his time hunting geese and deer, lifting weights, riding 4-wheelers and being around his family and friends.
I had the tough task of traveling to the Czech Republic to compete in the IPF World Championships just a few weeks after the funeral. The Oldman had travelled to 11 of my previous 13 World Championships to help coach and support me. It was very difficult to make the trip to Pilsen, but I knew that he would have wanted me to compete. I took him with me in spirit, and gave it my best shot.
I ran into trouble early with trying to get a squat passed by the tough IPF judging standards. I felt very strong, but unfortunately only ended up making a very conservative opener. This left me in a hole that I could not pull myself out of this year; as the SHW Class in 2011 was by far the toughest line up in the history of the IPF. The trouble I ran into in the squat put me 30 kg's down from where I expected to finish. I knew that this would make it impossible to challenge for an overall medal. This being said I did not give up.
I cruised through 3 benches, and was eager to pull. My deadlift training was at an all time high. I finished my last workout by tripling 810. I opened with 804 and smoked 848 on my 2nd attempt. We had a considerable amount of discussion regarding my 3rd attempt, but I decided the smart thing to do was attempt the minimum that was needed to break my current IPF World Record. I went out on the platform with as much intensity that I have ever had in my 22 year Powerlifting Career. I truly believe that dad was with me as I pulled 876 for Deadlift Gold and a new IPF World Record with relative ease. I pulled a big one for the Oldman….
Life can be very difficult at times. The loss of my father has left a real hole in my life, but I am comforted by the fact that we spent a lot of quality time together. We were able to travel the world together through the sport of Powerlifting. He is in another place now, but he will always be with me. I am going to continue to try and go out and pull a few more big ones for the Oldman.
The Holiday Season is coming soon! Happy Holidays to everyone! Train hard, stay healthy, set your goals high, and don't forget to add GNC Pro Performance HMB to your supplement list!