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iron-truths:

Reclaiming Fitspo: Jonathan Stoklosa

Jonathan Stoklosa is a 31-year-old power lifter who also has Down Syndrome.

Jonathan Stoklosa lives in Newark, Delaware and works as a bagger at a local grocery store. Despite his gentle demeanor and smile, he spends his spare time training as an elite power lifter.

This elite athlete can bench-press more than 400 pounds He can also squat and dead lift 440 pounds. He has also branched out beyond the Special Olympics and now competes in competitions that are open to all, against athletes who aren’t disabled.

Stoklosa took third in his age division after bench-pressing 402.5 pounds in a New York competition. At this same competition, he was awarded the “Most Inspirational” title, a unanimous choice by his competitors. He began lifting at 12-years-old and could bench-press 185 pounds by the time he was 13, and moved up to 225 by his 16th birthday. In 1999, he won gold in the Special Olympics World Games.

“You can’t help but love him. When he competed last year, everybody showed up to watch him. They’re in awe of his gifts,” said Brochey, who organized the recent power lifting event Jon competed in, held at Mickey Rats in Angola, N.Y. “Once he gets up there, nobody notices any handicap he has. He’s a competitor. He’s just like everybody out there.”

More on Jonathan Stoklosa

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