COLUMBIA FALLS — You can find Special Olympic stars all over Montana, but only one Treasure State standout will make an international trip with Team USA to the World Games next year.
Sylvester Vermillion is a Special Olympics powerlifter from Columbia Falls. In July, Vermillion went to Seattle to compete in the USA Special Olympics in powerlifting, a competition comprised of dead lifting, squatting and bench press.
“I’d say a rocky start when I started in the competition, but as the competition went on I got my feet underneath me and I felt better,” said Vermillion.
He really did get his feet underneath him. He finished second in bench press, first in dead lift, second in squat and first overall in his respective division. That qualified Vermillion to go to Abu Dhabi for the World Games in March. There, he’ll be competing in the same combined powerlifting competition.
As for excitement and goals, Vermillion says he’s a little nervous but going with the flow.
“I’m excited, but I’m nervous — just the competition overall, just to see how well I do,” he said. “I want to at least get up over 500 pounds in the dead (lift).”
Vermillion said a lot has changed since Seattle, including a big shift in his technique that relieves some stress from his knees and let’s him lift more.
“I went to a training camp, and they changed my whole way of dead lifting from conventional to sumo,” he said. “So that’s a rough path. Trying to get used to doing that.”
No matter what Vermillion comes home with, he’s flying halfway around the world for the experience of a lifetime. We’ll have to wait until March to see what he can do in Abu Dhabi representing the 406.
Vermillion first started lifting in Special Olympics four years ago. He’ll be one of approximately 7,000 athletes competing at the World Games.