Doing the heavy lifting: Team Army competing in powerlifting at DoD Warrior Games
By Joseph Jones, Madigan Army Medical Center Public Affairs

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Last year, for the first time in Department of Defense Warrior Games history, the sport of powerlifting was introduced. This year, the tour de force is back, and Team Army is training for the upcoming event with victory in their sights.

"Today is your day, you can do anything and all things are possible. Go out there and be the champion that you already are; that's what I tell all the athletes," said Ms. Monica Southall, U.S. Army Veteran and previous DoD Warrior Games athlete now serving as assistant powerlifting and field coach for Team Army. "We have an amazing group of athletes. Many have improved since the last time we saw them at the Army Trials, which is just great. I'm very excited to watch because they are all really motivated and ready to go," said Southall.

The "bench press" is the powerlifting event's sole discipline and is open to both male and female athletes. To properly execute a bench press, athletes must lower the bar to the chest, hold it motionless on the chest, and then press it upward to arm's length with their elbows locked.

Athletes competing in the powerlifting competition in the DoD Warrior Games utilize a modified bench press in which their legs are rested or secured onto the bench. This adaptive approach creates a more inclusive competition for wounded, ill or injured service members and veterans competing in the Warrior Games.

"It's a true test of strength" said Ms. Adriane Wilson, head coach for the powerlifting and field events at the 2019 DoD Warrior Games for Team Army. "All athletes have their legs extended on the flat bench, so it's an even playing field for all the athletes, regardless of whether or not they have a lower body impairment. It makes the competition an even playing field. It's strictly an upper-body strength sport."

Wilson, a seasoned powerlifting and field coach, former NCAA Division II track and field athlete, and 13 time All-American in the shot put, discus, hammer and 20lb. weight throw, is coaching for the fourth time at the DoD Warrior Games. "I love our military and I'm so grateful for them, coaching for the Warrior Games is my way of being able to give back," said Wilson.

"It took a long time to build up to the level I'm at now" said Retired U.S. Army Spc. Angela Euson, who was awarded eight gold medals in powerlifting, swimming and track events at the 2019 Army Trials at Fort Bliss, Texas. Euson is competing in the DoD Warrior Games for the second time in two years. "I love lifting weights, I do it five days a week. I love competition because it's a huge motivator for me. It gives me a goal and keeps me focused," said Euson.

The powerlifting competition will take place Monday, June 24 from 2-8 p.m. at the Tampa Convention Center as a part of the 2019 DoD Warrior Games which will run from June 21-30 in Tampa Bay, Florida. The athletes participating in the competition are comprised of wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans representing the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Special Operations Command. Athletes from the United Kingdom Armed Forces, Australian Defence Force, Canadian Armed Forces, Royal Armed Forces of the Netherlands, and the Danish Armed Forces are also competing in this year's DoD Warrior Games.

For more information about the 2019 DoD Warrior Games visit: https://dodwarriorgames.com