By Sean Rooney on August 10, 2018.
She’s not getting any younger but Medicine Hat’s Christine Sullivan keeps showing she can lift with the best of them.
The 51-year-old swept her competition at the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Nova Scotia last week, winning four gold medals.
Considering she only had a silver and three bronze from her last national championships in Vancouver four years ago, topping the podium was no small feat.
“I’m getting older, it’s getting harder for me to practice,” said Sullivan, who’s competed in Special Olympics for 22 years. “My knees and my back (hurt more).
“They’re younger people.”
She completed a 122.5 kilogram deadlift —two short of her personal best —and added a squat of 70 kg, a bench press of 57.5 kg and an overall score of 250 that won handily against the other two competitors in her division.
According to coach Pat Enns, the key was getting Sullivan in the right frame of mind.
“When we got there it was really good, we met her coach that she went to China for the last worlds with, and they had a great reunion,” said Enns. “They seemed to click, kind of get back in that head set and was really gung-ho to do the lifts.”
They weren’t all easy. Enns said Sullivan needed a pep talk after one squat attempt in particular.
“We had a chat behind the scenes where I said ‘you can do this.’ That was her motto, I can do this.”
And she did.
“Deadlift, I like my deadlift more than my squat,” said Sullivan.
With upwards of 3,000 athletes at the games, Sullivan met lots of new friends and reconnected with old ones too.
“I saw different friends, we were there to support all the athletes,” noted the quadruple-gold medallist, who said the social dance was another highlight of her week. “One lady, she was with gymnastics and she went to Vancouver (in 2014) with me.”
The strong performance could garner Sullivan a spot on the Canadian team going to Dubai next year for the international games. Enns is already confirmed as a coach for Dubai and was also in Nova Scotia to help Team Alberta, which finished with 119 medals at nationals.
“They had a great time getting to know each other, they blended as a team,” said Enns of how Sullivan got along with the Alberta group. “They were good cheerleaders which I think renewed her interest in sport.”
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