Syracuse Athlete Sets the Bar for Special Olympics

June 19, 2004

LONG ISLAND – Don’t let Benson Simpson’s size fool you. The 5-foot-2 Special Olympics athlete from Syracuse packs a lot of power into his 146 pounds.

In fact, at Special Olympics New York’s (SONY) 2004 Summer Games, Benson smashed three statewide Power Lifting records.

On June 18, Benson bench pressed 270 pounds, shattering SONY’s old record by 50 pounds. Then, on June 19, Benson dead lifted 440 pounds, exceeding the old record by 40 pounds. His combined total of 710 pounds is 105 pounds over the former mark. The old records were set in 1992 and 1999.

Benson was one of approximately 3,000 SONY athletes and coaches competing in the Summer Games at Long Island’s Hofstra University. The Summer Games are SONY’s largest and most prestigious competition, and athletes competed in Basketball, Bowling, Gymnastics, Power Lifting, Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field and Volleyball. Olympic-style rules apply.

Special Olympics New York provides year-round, cost-free sports training and competition in 23 Olympic-style sports for children and adults with mental retardation.