Sioux City Special Olympian Mitchell Betsworth is ready for the Special Olympics USA Games in June.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
The Special Olympics have become very popular in Siouxland over the last several years.
But one Sioux City power lifter with down syndrome has a lot of weight on his shoulders and is raising the bar as he aims toward the Special Olympics USA Games.
Mitchell Betsworth is strong.
The power lifter is so strong, in fact, that he's named his muscles.
"This is Mitchell, and this is Abby," said Mitchell with a flex.
Abby is Mitchell's girlfriend. And Mitchell, is, well, Mitchell. But one person Mitchell doesn't have a muscle named after is his father, and coach, Troy.
"I think that's what makes it special, having him be my son and being able to do this with him and watch him grow," said Troy.
Mitchell, who's in the Year 13 program at Western Iowa Tech, has always loved playing sports, and now he's a Special Olympian, becoming one of the best power lifters in the country after just a year and a half of lifting.
In June, the Betsworth family is headed to Trenton, N.J. to watch Mitchell compete in the Special Olympics USA Games in the dead lift, squat and bench press - with special coaching from his father.
"There's certain days when I can tell he's tired, he's had a bad day at school, whatever," said Troy. "We'll cut things short, maybe we'll work a little bit harder the next day. But usually an hour, an hour and a half."
Mitchell swims three days a week, and lifts three more days. On his lifting days, Troy has Mitchell doing anything from lawnmowers to shrugs, dead lifts to leg lifts, bench presses to "Supermans."
Troy pushes Mitchell hard. Sometimes, maybe a little too hard.
"My wife has to stop me every now and then and remind me that our son does have down syndrome, and what I think may be a simple command and a simple instruction, he might not be able to get right away," said Troy.
But Mitchell works hard for his dad, and it shows.
"I'm the best," said Mitchell.
Mitchell is one of 78 weightlifters competing at nationals, and is the youngest member of Team Iowa at just 18 years old. And as the two-time gold medalist in the dead lift at the Iowa state games, he has a lot of confidence heading into nationals.
So much confidence, that he has aspirations of lifting 400 pounds at nationals.
But wherever Mitchell finishes, he'll have no regrets.
"I definitely know he'll do his best, and I'm good with that," said Troy. "And I think he is too."
But if you ask Mitchell, he'll give you the same answer every time.
Troy Betsworth credits athletic coaches at East High for Mitchell's love of power lifting.
At the USA Games, Mitchell hopes to lift 15 to 20 pounds more than his personal best in each of the three events he'll compete in.
The Special Olympics USA Games take place from June 14-21.
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