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Vol. LVIII, No. 25
December 15, 2006

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NIH Mechanics Set Weightlifting Records

Michael Bradley
Dr. Barbara Bryant of the Clinical Center’s department of transfusion medicine is conducting
Michael Bradley (top) and George “Tommy” Beall are NIH mechanics who are also record-setting powerlifters.

Two NIH mechanics won armloads of medals in their age and weight categories at the 2006 Amateur Athletic Union World Powerlifting Championship held recently in Richmond, Va.

Michael Bradley, 48, an industrial equipment mechanic in the ORS building maintenance unit, set both U.S. and international records in six categories, including bench press, squat and deadlift.

His training partner George “Tommy” Beall, 43, a building engineer mechanic, won a gold medal in the AAU triple crown event (deadlift, bench press and squat), plus a silver medal and three international medals at the drug-free competition.

Bradley, who has been lifting weights since 1984 and competing in powerlifting contests since 1997, upped the old bench press record of 500 pounds to 505, extended the deadlift record from 573 pounds to 600 and improved the old squat limit of 540 to 595 pounds.

“The records are actually getting easier to break as I age,” said Bradley, whose past record-breaking feats were documented in the Dec. 7, 2004 NIH Record. “As long as my body allows me to do it, I’ll keep competing.”

Next up for Bradley is the national AAU competition next June, followed by the world championships at Disneyworld in October 2007.

“Right now I’m relaxing and recovering, just tuning up a little doing some light repetitions and some cardio work,” he said. “I’ll start to get serious again on Jan. 1.”

Beall grew up playing sports in the Annapolis area and most recently has enjoyed kickboxing and martial arts. Three years ago he began training with Bradley. “Now I’m hooked,” he said.

“I’ve learned a lot from Mike,” he said. “He taught me technique, forms and commands.” The latter is important because, in a meet, weightlifters respond to directions from judges. To get a “clean lift,” contestants must crisply and flawlessly obey commands. “I had 9 out of 9 clean lifts in Richmond,” Beall said.

He qualified for the recent world championship by winning the Virginia state triple crown event last June. Like Bradley, he intends to compete in next summer’s national championship. Beall, who also coaches girls’ softball and boys’ baseball in Anne Arundel County, enjoys weightlifting for its fraternal aspect. “It’s not like you’re lifting against someone,” he said. “The other guys are very positive and encouraging.” He also credits the NIH Fitness Center and its staff with supporting his training through the years.

He says Bradley taught him a crucial mental advantage in hoisting heavy weights: you don’t consider the number of pounds on the bar, which might prove daunting or discouraging. “You don’t think about the weight at all, you just concentrate on your lift.”

Beall has added 35 pounds of muscle since he began powerlifting and expects to compete for another decade. In anticipation of future success, he is completing a trophy case at his home in Riva, Md., to house his honors.— NIHRecord Icon

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