Barrett hopes to lift the weight of the worlds once again

Published on July 17, 2014
Powerlifter Jackie Barrett of Gillams and Tri-Com swimmer Eleanor Hobbs hold the Special Olympics Canada Games flag at the conclusion of the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Vancouver. The flag now will make it way to Corner Brook, which will host the Canadian Special Olympics Winter Games in 2016. Hobbs won six medals, including four gold, at the Vancouver Games, while Barrett came away with four gold medals. Newfoundland and Labrador athletes won 54 medals in total.
Submitted photo

After dominating the powerlifting competition at the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Vancouver, Jackie Barrett is looking for another chance to take on the world.
The 40-year-old from Gillams on the province’s west coast got the nod as the top overall performer in powerlifting in Vancouver, where he won four gold medals.

“It feels good because as a result of being the top performer pound-for-pound, it means I have a good chance of possibly being named to Team Canada for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles,” Barrett said after arriving home from British Columbia.

Team Canada's roster for the world event in Los Angeles will be announced in September.

There’s a very good likelihood Barrett’s name will be on the list, and if that is indeed the case, it will be the fourth Special Olympic World Games for Barrett, who won four gold medals at the 2007 Games in Shanghai, China and three more at the 2011 Games in Athens, where he broke the squat record with a final lift of 267 kilograms.

“If I get named to Team Canada, I'd be the first Canadian Special Olympian ever to be named to Team Canada for the (Special Olympic Summer) World Games four times in one particular sport,” he said.

It would also provide another chance to measure himself against the best in the world and against lifters who are steadily improving.

“In Special Olympics these days, you have to push yourself to be better on a regular basis due to the fact that other nations are catching up in their powerlifting programs,” he said.

“So, in order to stay on top. you have to go one step further.”

Barrett, who is nicknamed ‘The Newfoundland Moose,” and has his own Facebook fan club, was definitely on top of his game in Vancouver last week. Competing in the super heavyweight (125-kilogram) division, he claimed gold in all his disciplines —  bench, squat, deadlift and all-around — a performance which secured him top lifter honours based on the Wilkes powerlifting scale.

What’s more, Barrett's squat of 275.5 kilograms established a Newfoundland and Labrador generic super heavyweight record, meaning he owns the provincial standard among all lifters, not just Special Olympians.

He’s done that before. Two years ago, in an Atlantic event. Barrett broke another generic record when he had a deadlift of 300 kilograms.

Barrett, who has autism, began competing in Special Olympics as a swimmer two decades ago, but after excelling during weight training for that sport, eventually switched to powerlifting.

But his accomplishments haven’t only come in athletic competition. Barrett holds a commerce degree from St. Mary’s University in Halifax, has a diploma in the Internet solutions development and works as a webmaster and social media co-ordinator for Academy Canada.

Self-motivation has helped in everything he does.

Barrett’s coach, Jeff Butt lives in Paradise, and although he regularly travels across Newfoundland to help in training, he also knows that when he’s not there, the necessary work is being done.

“There are hard people to coach and easy people to coach and Jackie knows his stuff on his own and can really do his own programs,” Butt told the Vancouver Sun last week.

Barrett’s four gold medals in Vancouver were part of the 54 in total won by Newfoundland and Labrador athletes at the 2014 Canadian Special Olympic Games.

 With Files from Dave Kearsey/The Western Star and The Telegram



Newfoundland and Labrador medal-winners at the 2014 Canadian Special Olympic Games in Vancouver


Rhythmic gymnastics

• Meghan Arnott, five bronze (hoop, ribbon, ball, rope, all-around)



• Jackie Barrett (superheavyweight weight class), four gold (bench press, squat, deadlift, all-around)

• Daniel Moores: (100kg weight class), gold (bench press); three silver (squat, deadlift, all-around)



• Preston Spurrell: bronze

• Darrin Puddester: silver

• Jessica McGrath-Taylor: gold



• Meghan Hounsell: silver (25m breaststroke), bronze (50m breaststroke)

• Shawn Dawson: two silver (50m backstroke, 200m backstroke), bronze (100m backstroke)

• Ryan Drover: two gold (25m breaststroke, 50m freestyle); two bronze (100m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke)

• Megan Martin, three gold (25m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 50m freestyle); bronze (25 back stroke)

• Eleanor Hobbs: four gold (50m butterfly, 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 100m individual medley); silver (50m freestyle), bronze (25m butterfly)



• Johnny Philpott: silver (1,500m); bronze (400m)

• Chris Dugas: two gold (standing long jump, shot put); silver (400m)

• Crystal Young: two gold (3,000m, standing long jump)

• Rosie Kennedy: gold (200m)

• Kelly Adams: silver (200m); bronze (100m)

• Travis Sceviour: two bronze (400m, shot put)

• Floressa Harris: silver (800m); bronze (400m)

• Josh Mutrey: gold (shot put)

• Mike Austin: gold (200m); bronze (100m)



Newfoundland and Labrador wins silver in A Division

Divisioning games

• British Columbia 1, NL 0

• NL 3, Saskatchewan

NL GS: Bradley Murphy(3)

• NL 3, Quebec 0

NL GS: Matthew Martin, Andrew Hynes, Nadia Brenton


NL placed in A Division

• NL 1, British Columbia 1

NL GS: Matthew Martin

• NL 3, Saskatchewan 0

NL GS: Bradley Murphy (2), Matthew Martin; SO: Matthew Kelly

NL 4, Ontario Timmins 0

NL GS: Bradley Murphy, Matthew Martin, Jason Roche, Nick Styles; SO:

Gold medal game

B.C. 2, NL 0