San Antonio weig­htlifter vies for world title

Powe­-lifter Ryan Carillo poised for world comp­etition in Lithuania

San Antonio has a world championship basketball team, and may soon have the world champion weightlifter as well.

Ryan Carillo, a graduate of O’Connor High School and a current student at Texas State University in San Marcos, is currently training and raising money for his bid at the title in Quantos, Lithuania, in May.

He’s 300 pounds, 6 foot 5 inches tall, and can lift twice his weight.

It’s an especially remarkable feat because while in high school playing football, he herniated a disc in his spinal column and was told his athletic career was over.

"(The) doctor said, 'You're not going to be able to play football (and) definitely not going to be able to lift.' ... I didn't listen to him," Carillo said.

Two years ago, he began power-lifting. He entered a competition and won, breaking the record by 50 pounds.

Last summer, he went to the U.S. Championship and wound up winning the Super Heavyweight Junior Championship and being place on the U.S. Team for the world competition.

His trainer is an eight-time world champ himself, with 35 years in the sport. He says Carillo has the dedication and personality to take the title and has been training perfectly to make it happen.

"He got there a lot sooner than I thought he would. I'm very proud," said Gene Bell Jr.

The problem that both men are faced with is a common one for those competing in amateur sports like power-lifting.

It boils down to money.

Without major sponsors, the athletes themselves must raise the thousands of dollars for their training, and when they get the chance to take a title, the price rises as well.

Carillo must raise $3,000 to $6,000 just to pay for the trip to the competition in Lithuania.

Casey Whittington is Carillo’s friend and has taken charge of the fundraising effort. He has no doubts that anyone who donates to this quest will be rewarded with the knowledge that they helped a world title win.

"We will have a world champion bench-presser. He's slated to do very well there. If he does what he can, he will win,” predicted Whittingon.

As for Carillo himself, the 21-year-old is not stopping for a minute to consider the money won’t be raised.

"I'm in the gym three to four times a week for about two hours at a time. Tonnage-wise, on a typical bench press day, it'll be around 17,000 pounds total lifted," he explained.

The website for Carillo and his fundraising efforts is


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