The Gay Games are wrapping up in Cologne, Germany, and among the successful competitors is Chris Morgan, world champion deadlifter and longtime friend of RealJock. Chris won his sixth Gay Games gold medal this week—and shortly thereafter announced his retirement from the sport.
Chris Morgan is an unusual athlete in the history of the Gay Games. He has been powerlifting for 12 years, and has participated in four consecutive Games. Each time he has won medals, totaling six golds and a silver. He is the Gay Games record holder in squat, deadlift and total poundage. But Chris is unique among athletes in that he got his competitive start at the Gay Games, and from there moved on to huge success in international competition, winning several World Open Gold Medals and ranking amongst the top 10 international competitors.
This year Chris added to his totals with another gold medal—and decided to retire on a high note. Chris' Gay Games appearance took place on the first day of competition, August 1. He made lifts of 215 kilos in squat, 110 in bench press and 252.5 kilos in deadlift. These totaled to 577.5 kilos, enough to win his class and give him his sixth Gay Games gold. The following day, Chris announced, "It was exactly twelve years ago today that I participated in my first Gay Games in Amsterdam 1998 and won the shiny silver medal that set me on the way to a career in international sport. After careful consideration I’ve decided to finish competing in full powerlifting competitions here at the Gay Games where I started. I’d like to take the opportunity of thanking the Federation of Gay Games for their support and inspiration throughout my career and acknowledge the huge influence this organisation has made on my life."
Chris will be missed at the Games—but he is going on to exciting things, as his retirement will allow him to focus on his next endeavor, coaching an English rugby club. "I’ve recently started my coaching career as a ‘Strength Specialist’ at an English professional rugby club," he says. "This is an exciting opportunity which is allowing me to work with an extremely talented group of young players."
And, Chris' lifting career isn't entirely over yet. He plans to continue to compete in single event competition (so, squat or deadlift or bench press, rather than all events at once) at least for a while. "I’m certainly going to compete in the European Single Event Championship in Malta this coming October," he says, "and then make a further decision about continuing in single event competitions for possibly a further couple of years. My intention is to finish competing completely before reaching masters age."
We will miss watching Chris compete, but wish him great success in his new endeavor, and congratulate him on a hugely successful Gay Games VIII.