Bobby Body Captures Parapan American Gold, Record in Santiago

by Brianna Tammaro

Bobby Body competes in powerlifting competition. (Photo by Joe Kusumoto/USOPC)

SANTIAGO, CHILE – Bobby Body (Eaton Rapids, Michigan) couldn’t hold back his tears as he watched the American flag raised from the top of the podium after winning the powerlifting men’s up to 107 & over 107 kilogram event on Sunday at the Parapan American Games Santiago 2023. Body, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army, lifted a personal best 228 kg. in his third round lift to set the Parapan Am record and secure gold in his Games debut. 

“Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now,” Body said. “I tried to sing the national anthem, but I couldn’t. My face was a little wet on the eye side. Words can’t describe the feeling when they play the national anthem. I’m super proud of all the hard work we’ve done and all the work we’ve put into this.”

Body came into competition with a lift of 216 before clearing 228 in his second round. His third mark at 228 was good enough to keep him at the top of the field and smash his previous personal best by 11 kg. With the crowd’s support, he attempted to go for a fourth round try at 229 but wasn’t able to complete the lift. The 49-year-old walked off the platform with his head raised high after also winning Team USA’s first gold medal in powerlifting at a Parapan Am Games. 

“Back at home, 228 [kilograms] was the goal before I even got here,” Body said. “When I hit it, obviously we knew that I would try for 229 because I was allotted that fourth attempt. I had nothing left because I put all of my emotion into that third attempt, but I’m super happy with our strategy. It obviously worked and I was able to hit my first, second and third attempts.”

A double silver medalist at the 2023 World Para Powerlifting Championships in Dubai, Body admits he struggled at his last major competition in August. He credits dialing in his nutrition and receiving support from the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) Psychological Services team to his success in Santiago.

“It was a lot of hard work at home, actually,” he said. “The preparation with nutrition and meeting with USOPC mental health [was needed]. I had to come here with a clear mind because when I was in Dubai, I struggled with mental health and only went one for three. Down here, I wanted to make sure I was in the right place mentally, emotionally and, of course, physically. I prepared myself for those three specific attempts and I was able to be successful.”

Next up for Body will be the mixed team event on Tuesday, Nov. 21. Powerlifting competition resumes for Team USA tomorrow at Gimnasio Chimkowe with the men’s up to 80 and 88 kg finals and the women’s up to 50 kg & up to 55 kg finals. Follow U.S. Paralympics Powerlifting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to catch all the action live from Santiago as competition continues through Nov. 21. 

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Team USA Medals - Nov. 19 


Bobby Body - men’s up to 107 & over 107 kg.