Special Olympics Minnesota powerlifter lying on back while lifting barbell

Powerlifting is about much more than squats, bench presses and deadlifts: It’s about barriers, perseverance and success. Training, determination and attitude determine the fine line between success and failure. The bar may test an athlete’s physical abilities, but an internal desire to improve — to not settle for less — is the drive behind the strain and dedication of the sport.

Special Olympics powerlifters are eligible to compete in three lifts: the bench press, the deadlift and the squat, or in combinations of these events. As in all Special Olympics sports, athletes are grouped in competitive divisions according to ability level, age and gender. Special Olympics athletes must be 16 years of age before competing in powerlifting.

Bench Press
Combination I (Bench Press and Deadlift)
Combination II (Bench Press, Deadlift and Squat)

  • Powerlifting was introduced to Special Olympics in 1983.
  • The 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games powerlifting event had a total of 129 competitors representing more than 20 programs in the squat, bench press, deadlift and combination events.

When is Powerlifting offered?

December through February
Winter Games

Where is Powerlifting offered?