SAVANNAH, Mo. – A Savannah powerlifter will compete in the main event at the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 on June 17.
Charlie Phillips, 26, who will represent Special Olympics Team USA after qualifying at its trials in San Antonio last November, told The Heartlander he’s been powerlifting for eight years, and the sport has become his new addiction.
“There’s no turning back. You have to be committed,” Phillips said of lifting heavy weights. “I can’t believe I’m going to be representing our country. My dream came true. I will never let our country down. I’ll show the whole world what I can do.”
Phillips finished his weekend in San Antonio with the top squat of 182.5 kilograms (400 lbs.) and top deadlift of 227.5 kilograms (500 lbs.), while also bench-pressing 130 kilograms (286 lbs.).
He says he’s always excited to compete because he makes friends everywhere he goes. Through powerlifting he’s made friends from all over the United States, as well as in the Netherlands and Germany. Phillips wishes luck to his opponents, and hopes they have the time of their lives during competition.
The multi-talented athlete is no stranger to the Special Olympics. He previously competed in soccer, speed skating, track, flag football and basketball. Phillips began his Special Olympics career in central Pennsylvania, and has been competing for 15 years in all.
Charlie has advice for those who look to become Olympic athletes one day.
“Listen to your coaches and staff. Keep on working hard. One day, you’ll get where I am at today. Keep on grinding until your name is called to be on Team USA. It is very hard work, but anyone can do it. If you put in your time, effort and hard work you will get there with blood, sweat and tears.”
Phillips says it’s too early to make his travel plans, but promises to keep working toward his ultimate goal: a gold medal to bring home to the United States.
The Special Olympics allows thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities to compete together in 26 sports for nine days. This year marks the first time Germany has hosted the games.