There’s one thing about Chad McCrary that you’ll notice as soon as you meet him: his determination to win. McCrary, who is an administrative assistant in the Business Management Office at Red River Army Depot, is one of eight worldwide qualifiers for the Wheelchair Olympia in the Mr. Olympia competition.
Though partially paralyzed, McCrary has been bodybuilding for over 21 years.
“I did my first show in 2003 which was two years before my injury,” he said. “I was always infatuated with the art of bodybuilding so I took it up and ran with it.”
In 2005, McCrary had a motocross accident that would cause major damage to his spinal cord. Doctors said he would never walk again but he was determined to beat the odds.
“I remember being in rehab and someone bought me a magazine of wheelchair body builders,” he said. “I had no idea it was something I could continue doing.”
Six months after his accident, McCrary competed in his first bodybuilding competition in Dallas where he won first place.
“I used to say overcoming adversity, but it’s really about adapting to a new normal,” he said.
McCrary would go on to win several more wheelchair competitions before deciding to take a break until 2015. In 2018, he decided to give it another try.
“Back in June 2020, I was a part of the major competition in Dallas where I received second place,” McCrary said. “That qualified me to advance to Mr. Olympia.”
Contestants for the Mr. Olympia competition are from various locations across the world. There are 11 categories for the competition.
“I think what I try to embody in my message is that you can never give up on your dreams, no matter how hard things are for you,” McCrary said. “I think we grow the most is when we are pushed into a corner. But you really don’t have to wait until something catastrophic happens to you to discover that side of yourself. We are way more capable than we give ourselves credit for.”
McCrary says there’s only one way to sum up his journey.
“Regardless of who I talk to or what I do, I’m going to give God the glory for where I am,” he said. “I take no credit for anything in my life. I literally would not be here today without God.”
The Mr. Olympia worldwide competition is set for October 7-10, 2021 in Orlando, Florida.