Stevens Point will be coming to life with competition this weekend, as the Special Olympic Summer Games come to town.
The competition starts Friday, but the fun starts tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. with the Parade of Athletes and the carrying of the torch. After that, it's the opening ceremonies, hosted by NewsChannel 7's Chad Franzen.
More than 2,000 athletes will be competing in aquatics, track and field, soccer and power lifting on Friday and Saturday.
One returning athlete already has big plans after the State competition is done. A Stevens Point power lifter will be heading to the Nationals in New Jersey the following weekend.
Ben Burow has won 62 metals throughout his 26 years of competing in Special Olympics events at the State level and still remembers his first gold.
"I was shocked winning my first gold medal, and it was awesome," he said.
He said he never expected to make it to the National level.
"When I got the letter I was just shocked. I had to tell the whole family. I was just shocked."
This will be his first time there and he has definitely earned it.
"This year I've been working year round. Other years I would take six months off and come back," he said.
He's worked with Max Fuller for the past year and a half, until Fuller graduated from his program and could no longer coach him.
"I've watched him really grow as a leader. he started to open up and be more confident as his strength started to get a little better," said Fuller
For the past three months, Burow has trained with Ross Mahoney.
"Ben comes in and once we start lifting he makes sure everyone is lifting in good form," said Mahoney. "He's like a second set of eyes for me. He will bounce form lift to lift, keeps moving and when the others see what he can lift then that seems to motivate them to try to push further."
"If somebody is doing something wrong, and I was watching," said Burow, "I would just correct them and give them a little hints to do better."
"I think special olympics has really helped him grow as an individual and allowed him to connect with people on a really cool level," said Fuller.
As for his success, Burow said it's all thanks to his faith.
"I feel it helps me concentrate. Right before I dead lift, I say a little prayer, and I get my mind clear and I do the best I can," he said.
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