BRECKENRIDGE - Gip Duggan is the owner of a rebuilt rotator cuff as well as a heart that survived a quadruple bypass seven years ago. Now, after bench pressing 468.75 pounds (212.5 kilograms) at last Saturday's Shawn Ray Pro/Am Classic in Denver, the 62-year-old Silverthorne resident also is the owner of a world record.Duggan set his mark in the super heavyweight class for power lifters 60 and older, breaking the old record by 7.75 pounds on his third and final attempt of the day. Duggan had easily pressed 425 pounds and 435 pounds on his first two lifts, resting the customary 17 minutes in between. He appeared strong enough that his Breckenridge Recreation Center trainer, Chris Hughes, decided to load the bar with the record-breaking weight for his final attempt.
"His world record lift was, in all honesty, the best competitive bench press I've ever seen him do," said Hughes, a noted power lifting coach who has been training Duggan for more than a decade.As is usually the case when he competes, Duggan did not know how much weight was on the bar when he set the record. Hughes doesn't tell his athlete because, as he put it, "I don't want to spook him.""He just points and says, 'Get it,'" Duggan explained.The feat brought quite the satisfaction to Duggan, a 6-foot, 280-pound Oklahoma native who grew up on a farm hucking 1,000 bales of hay in a typical summer day.For much of his athletic career, Duggan primarily has been known for playing in the NFL back in the late 1960s. But he doesn't always like to have that pointed out because he feels it makes his power-lifting accomplishments less impressive, since football players are expected to lift heavy weights.
"This to me is a bigger deal than (playing in the NFL)," he said of his world record.Duggan, a member of the U.S. Power Lifting Team and the Aurora-based Rocky Mountain Lifting Club, trained four days a week for eight weeks leading up to Saturday's competition.When the day arrived, so did the intense scrutiny involved with elite-level lifting competitions. On his first attempt - the 425-pound baby rack - he moved his foot an inch and was disqualified, even though he successfully pressed the weight."If you move your feet, if your butt comes off the bench, if you raise your head or don't obey all their commands - you're disqualified," he explained. "They've got a lot of rules. You have to be on your game; it has to be just perfect."The world record was likely one of Duggan's final performances in the super heavyweight class, which requires lifters to weigh at least 275 pounds. Maintaining such a frame is "just too hard on me," the self-proclaimed "old fart" said, speaking of his health. "My doctor says, 'I want you to be around so we can drink Cabernet Sauvignon together.'"
Duggan's next goal is to get his weight down to 225 pounds over the next two years. It's a wellness thing, aimed at helping him live longer, and you can tell he believes in it.Kind of."The problem," he said, "is that when you go down in weight, the amount of weight you can lift goes down, too."Devon O'Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-4633, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.