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Powerlifter with Down Syndrome Hailed an Inspiration After Overcoming His Challenges to Win European Gold

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In Bordeaux, a British powerlifter with Down Syndrome is a walking, pressing, squatting inspiration to all who watch him compete, and he’s just bagged the 5th gold medal of his career.

At just 127 pounds (57 kg) Dan MacGauley took first place in the European Bench Press Championship, posting 154 lbs. (70 kg) classic, and 198 lbs. (90 kg) equipped—meaning with a weight belt and gloves—which was a new personal best.

The 33-year-old who was told he’d “never achieve anything,” was already a world champion, four-times Commonwealth champion, and British champion before his European debut earlier this month in Bordeaux.

Dan, who has autism and is deaf in his left ear, underwent two rounds of open-heart surgery when he was a toddler. He’s overcome as many obstacles as one could imagine to take home the double gold for classic and equipped.

“Loads of people have said to us that they go to work and come home after a long day and it’s an effort to go to the gym,” said his mother Judith, who’s also a powerlifter. “But that they see Dan there, smiling and laughing despite all his problems, and it gives them the motivation they need.”

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