In roughly five months, the Special Olympics USA Games will kick off in Seattle, Washington. This year’s Games are set to take place from July 1st-6th. Every year, the Special Olympics USA Games bring out thousands of athletes from every state across the nation to compete in a lineup of 14 individual and team sports.
One of the sports included in the Special Olympics USA Games lineup is powerlifting, which is what brings us to the focus of this article. The recently produced documentary titled “Dear Brian” by Red Leaf Film & Upland Film Co. highlights the journey of New Jersey powerlifting athlete Brian Beirne.
“I’m a powerlifter. I know that I’m strong, but you know, you always have to look at yourself like you’re weak. After you hit a PR in a meet or something, maybe for a week you’re like, ‘yeah I’m pretty strong’, but a week later you’re back to it. Oh, I need to get bigger, I need to get better.” – Brian Beirne.
The documentary below follows Beirne through his day-to-day life and talks about his journey and growth as a powerlifting athlete at War Horse Barbell. Growing up, Beirne went through a traumatic experience that would change his life forever. When Beirne was younger, he underwent a tonsillectomy (a typically standard surgery for many young people) and experienced a hemorrhage later that night when he was home.
“It changed everything, the analogy I use is like a pebble hitting a pond. The waves that kind of emanate for years and years. When you think you want to move your fingers, your brain says move and they move, but all the connections were pretty much gone,” Jay Beirne says in the opening minutes of the documentary.
His father talks about how he spent years in physical therapy working to build back the basic connections needed for everyday movement, and he believes this is what sparked Brian’s love for powerlifting. In addition, the Special Olympics were another major bridge that connected Brian to a community that has since given him a greater purpose.
“He doesn’t quit, he doesn’t complain, he just puts his head down and he does the work. He’s an extraordinary young man and I’m really proud.” – Jay Beirne
If you have time, we recommend checking out the 7-minute documentary above. Beirne is not only motivating, but a true reminder of how strength sports can provide life with a bigger purpose and create community.
Feature image screenshot from Upland Film Co. Vimeo channel.