Dad With Dwarfism Powerlifting His Way To 2020 Paralympics

Dad With Dwarfism Powerlifting His Way To 2020 Paralympics


RICH WILLIS: My daughter Cherry, she saw somebody with dwarfism who is powerlifting and she
said to me, “Do you think you could do that Daddy?” RICH WILLIS: What motivates me to keep going
during the tougher workouts is the fact that I really want to be able to make my daughter
Cherry proud of me. My average workout involves a lot of pain, a lot of sweat, a lot of tears;
it was a lot of hard work. NICK HEWICK: Rich’s workout ethic is unreal like, never seen someone with so much determination
to make it to Tokyo in 2020. COMM: Just one year ago, 47-year-old Rich had never lifted a single weight but today
he’s training to become part of the next British Powerlifting Paralympic team. RICH WILLIS: Right then Cherry, shall we have
a protein shake? CHERRY WILLIS: Do you want me to? RICH WILLIS: Have you set your stall up? You’re gonna be the shake lady. RICH WILLIS: What inspired me to start power-lifting
was the fact that I was watching the Paralympics with my daughter and she saw this lady with
dwarfism and she recognized that she was like me; she said, ‘Daddy do you think you could
do that?’ Well at the time I had just come out of many major surgeries. To be honest,
I’ve got quite an addiction to opiate-based pain medications that I’ve been on for years.
I think it was the kick that I needed to actually do something with my life that was positive.
I just quit all the medications that I was on while my doctor was on holiday; went cold
turkey and took up powerlifting. COMM: Since starting his powerlifting training, his five-year-old daughter Cherry has been
by his side every step of the way. CHERRY WILLIS: My daddy powerlifting is good. I think my daddy can make it into the Paralympics. RICH WILLIS: Having Cherry along with me,
my competitions and training is immensely inspiring for me and motivational-wise as
well because she gets to see Daddy getting stronger and something for her to be proud
of when Daddy competes. NICK HEWICK: I have never doubted Rich’s ability to power-lift when he first came to
us. We adapted our training methods to suit his needs. CHARLIE WILLIS: When Rich first told me he
was going to try powerlifting, I initially was concerned for the effects it could have
on him physically. Obviously, it’s not without its risks to even, you know, an able-bodied
individual but obviously with Rich’s health conditions, being as they are, I was sort
of concerned. RICH WILLIS: The type of dwarfism that I have is a condition called diastrophic dwarfism.
My long bones are obviously affected and my arms are a lot shorter, and my fingers obviously.
I think it’s quite a rare condition compared to most of the dwarfisms. And I have complicated
joints so that they don’t actually move in the same way as other people’s joints
do. RICH WILLIS : Growing up with dwarfism as a child, it’s quite difficult in the sense
that you attract a lot of attention from other children because you do stand out. You’re
always smaller than your peers because I had to have an awful lot of surgeries; I think
over 40 as a child. Because I was born with my legs turned inwards – I had what they
call telebasel clubbed feet. So every year during the summer holidays I would go into
hospital, have surgeries on both legs. And then you know all the kids are on holidays
and stuff, I was sat there with two legs in plastic casts for the whole summer. So that
was, that was tough. COMM: After enduring numerous surgeries as a child, Rich began struggling with arthritis
and aged 35, his left knee collapsed. RICH WILLIS: The first surgeon that I saw, he said that I would have to have my leg amputated
and if my other leg went the same way I’d have to have that amputated too. COMM: Two-years later, they found a doctor
who could help and Rich was given surgery to save his legs. RICH WILLIS: I think what kept me going through
my surgeries was the support of my wife Charlie and the love that she has for me. She has
always been there from day one. CHARLIE WILLIS: We just met across the pool table basically. Our routines were pitched
against each other and just went from there really, didn’t it? CHARLIE WILLIS: I’m really, really proud
of him. It came a bit unexpectedly, but the way he sort of committed himself to it; it’s
quite inspiring to see how much effort and determination he is putting into his training. RICH WILLIS: The examples I’m hoping to
set for Cherry is that anything is possible. Maybe you don’t think you can do, you can
do if you give it a try. COMM: Six-months into his training, and Rich has exceeded even his own expectations. RICH WILLIS: The top holder I have held is
110 kilos and bearing in mind I weigh 51 kilos – on a good day. So, that’s like twice the
body weight, at least. RICH WILLIS: Did I think that I would make it this far? If you had asked me six-months
ago would I be holding a 110 kilos above myself, the answer would definitely be no. I think
the thing that I’m most proud of so far, is after just five months of training, I went
into the English Weightlifting Championships, doing powerlifting on the bench and I came
sixth in the country and England. So, I know for a fact that now onwards, we can only get
better and better. CHARLIE WILLIS: I think the way that Rich is going he could definitely reach the Paralympics.
I mean if in 6 months he can go from never having bench pressed at all to lifting a 100
kilos, I think that you know within the next three and a bit years, that you know he’s got
plenty of scope for massive improvements. CHARLIE WILLIS: I’m immensely proud of him for his achievements and his attitude and
his determination. RICH WILLIS: I think the motivation for me personally is doing something that makes,
not only myself proud, and particularly my daughter and family proud but also hopefully
maybe inspire other people who maybe think that they can’t do something and just to
give something a go. Even if I don’t make it to the Paralympics the journey along the
way will be a lot further than where I would have got if I have not tried.

100 thoughts on “Dad With Dwarfism Powerlifting His Way To 2020 Paralympics

  1. So many people sit on opiates for years and years with 10% of his physical challenges but he's done amazingly to quit that ands jump into something amazing for him and his family's health. Awesome mate- I hope you win!

  2. awesome…thats the way to do it…supplement one horrible disease of addiction to opiates and make something good of it

  3. This gentleman is such an amazing father. It’s clear that he loves his family and shows his wife and his daughter that anything is possible when you support each other and do your absolute best. I really hope he wins

  4. This guy is inspiring! Hope he makes it to the Paralympics. And I'm glad powerlifting is being recognized as a legit sport by the Paralympics. (Coming from a fellow powerlifter)

  5. I don't understand how people dislike videos like this, he can't help the body he was born in too and he had to live with all the surgeries and bulling and so on and he still managed to have a wife and daughter and hopefully make it to the Olympics. hope he continues the postive attitude and wish him and his family well.

  6. Iife is good …..beautiful family this is so inspiring 💞💞💞💞well done mate and your daughter is a little angel .

  7. I used to watch this guy on youtube, nice guy. I guess I've got to many subscriptions or something so they don't come up in my feed.

  8. Hi Rich I know you went to a school at Friday 13th July and it's Simpson's Lane Academy as well as that I'm in the school that you've been to

  9. He's an amazing inspiration for everyone, great dad, great sense of humor, humble…. woow God bless him and his family. What a beautiful family. So adorable to see his daughter with him when he is training.

  10. i'm sorry for saying this joke but he looks like someone had a little to fun with the ARK survival character creator. But mad respect for this man better than me by far.

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