Special Olympics Tennessee hosted its annual State Summer Games at Lipscomb University on May 19 and 20, 2023. Athletes from across the state traveled to Nashville to compete in Tennis, Volleyball, Bocce, Track and Field, Swimming, and Powerlifting. A rain-filled weekend didn’t stop the athletes from showing their passion for their sport and what Special Olympics Tennessee means to them. I spoke with an athlete competing in powerlifting about his experience at State Summer Games and his passion for powerlifting.
Michael Morhardt represented Area 9, the Upper Cumberland Region, at this year’s State Summer Games presented by Rockit apple. He competed in the bench press, squat and deadlift portions of the powerlifting competition. Weighing in at 139.5 pounds, Morhardt puts forth his strongest effort for the crowd to see and cheer for. His excitement and energy for powerlifting was shown to the crowd post-lift and during our conversation between sets.
Before heading to the bench for his first bench press of the day, Morhardt’s coach gave him a “pep talk” to get him ready for his lift. He became “pumped up” before his lift and ready to head to the bench to give it his all. When setting up on the bench, Morhardt locked in and focused on the task at hand, completing the lift.
I enjoyed cheering him on during his first round at the bench press, lifting 65 pounds. He benched with ease, preparing him for the second round that was soon to come. Results showcased his lifts from the squat portion weighing in at 85, 110, and 145 pounds. Some great lifts for Morhardt at State Summer Games!
When asked about his favorite part of powerlifting, Morhardt stated that deadlift is the best for him. Morhardt enjoys being able to “just have fun” when competing and practicing in powerlifting. He enjoys being a part of Special Olympics Tennessee for the very same reason. Morhardt, along with the rest of Area 9 and athletes from across the state, came excited to be ALL IN at this year’s State Summer Games.
Morhardt walked away from State Summer Games with another powerlifting competition under his belt and new experiences. We wish him the best of luck in future powerlifting competitions!