Great news came to us this week about a gay athlete hero and RealJock friend, Chris Morgan. Chris is an international weight-lifter and the current reigning Gay Games Powerlifting Champion, but a year of injury and illness had put his title, and even his career, in doubt. He blasted back onto the powerlifting scene in July with a bronze medal at the European Drug Free Championships, raising hopes that he might be able to defend his title at the 2010 Gay Games. This week he added more fuel to that speculation with a gold medal at the World Deadlift Championships. Here's hoping Chris will take it all the way to Cologne in 2010!
Chris's gold medal came in the single-event competition of the World Championship in Bradford, England, with lifts of 200 kilos followed by 230 and then 250 kilos to clinch the World Open Power Deadlift title in the 82.5 kilo class. Chris was also second overall amongst 120 lifters, narrowly missing out on the Best Lifter Award that is presented across all weight classes in the competition. In an interview after the event, Chris expressed his delight at the win, and described his own amazement at the speed and success of his return to competition: "I'm surprised by this result after my injury problems earlier this year, but now extremely encouraged by my recent form and results. The World Deadlift championship has always been a title that I've coveted and to win it in my home country makes everything so extra special. I'd like to thank my family, friends and supporters for all their encouragement this year and especially the Federation of Gay Games for the continued inspiration."
It couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Despite lifting for only about a decade, this British financial adviser 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. He has used these victories as a springboard to advocate for gay sports worldwide. Chris got his competitive start at the 1998 World Gay Games, and only after finding success there moved to ordinary international competition. Since then he has competed in three more Gay Games, breaking his own records each time, and has been a huge promoter of the Games internationally. He 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.
As one would expect, Chris is looking forward to his next competition, and beyond to the 2010 Gay Games, which he always keeps in his sights: "My next competition is the World Drug Free Powerlifting Championship being held in Milton Keynes, England in November and then South West Divisional Championship in Newquay, England in early December," he says. "I'm also looking forward to the Gay Games, which are taking place in the beautiful city of Cologne in August of next year." We wish him every success, and congratulate him on his newest medal! You can keep up with Chris at his website, www.chunkymuscle.com.