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  • Photo for Return of a Champion: Gay Powerlifter Chris Morgan Takes Silver at World Single Life Championships
    Photo Credit: Courtesy of Chris Morgan

Return of a Champion: Gay Powerlifter Chris Morgan Takes Silver at World Single Life Championships

By L.K. Regan

Great news came to us this week about a gay athlete hero and RealJock friend, Chris Morgan. Chris is in international weight-lifter and the current reigning Gay Games Powerlifting Champion. Last week, he took a silver medal at the World Single Life Championships in Antwerp, Belgium. This accomplishment comes against the backdrop of a year of struggle and renewal for Chris, who was almost forced into retirement last year. We'd like to take a little time to reintroduce Chris, and reflect on his remarkable accomplishments.

Chris Morgan is a truly unique person. This English financial adviser, who describes himself as "a raving queen," is also the 2005 World Drug Free Powerlifting Champion. Morgan has been lifting for only 10 years, yet he has racked up an impressive list of accomplishments. He has won all three medals—gold, silver and bronze—at the World Championships (gold in 2005, silver in 2004, bronze in 2006), a gold medal at the 2002 World Gay Games, and an astonishing four gold medals at the 2006 World Gay Games. Currently, he is ranked among the top three weightlifters in England. This year is his self-described "comback"—Chris has had a long bout of injury and illness, including surgery. With his silver medal at the World Single Life Championships, he announced his return—with a vengeance.

Over the years, Chris has been a spokesman and role model for the gay community. He is a rarity among elite athletes, having gotten his start at the World Gay Games, and only after finding success there moving to ordinary international competition. He burst onto the weightlifting scene in 1998 at the World Gay Games in Amsterdam, winning a silver medal in the 82.5-kilo class. Since then he has competed in three more Gay Games, breaking his own records each time. In fact, he is the record holder in the squat and the deadlift at the Gay Games. Chris is a member of the Board of Ambassadors for the Federation of Gay Games and the Gay Games in Cologne 2010. He is also a member of the English Football Association's Advisory Group on Homophobia. And, as a result of his huge successes as a gay athlete, he is sponsored by Umbro, giving gay athletes, and the Gay Games, a more public face.

That public face comes as part of an unexpectedly slight package. At the height of his lifting career, in 2006, Chris weighed a mere 162 pounds. Yet he was lifting the kind of weight that would make a cart-horse flinch. For instance, in 2005 he squatted his lifetime best of 237.5 kilos—that's 523 pounds, friends. Wow. His lifetime deadlift best is 257.5 kilos (567 pounds). Now competing in a new weight-class, Morgan squatted 230 kilos (507 pounds) to win the silver medal at the World Single Life Championships last week. And, he says, all signs point to his making a full comeback: "I'm extremely pleased to be competing at international level once again and to have taken a medal in my new weight class," he said. "It feels good to be competitive even though this is my first World Championship at 82.5 kilos, so the signs are good for the future." After all Chris has given to gay athletes, and the gay community, we are all pulling for him!

To visit Chris Morgan on the web, check out ChunkyMuscle.com.