Photo courtesy of Marky Oliver. Greer won second place in a Special Olympics powerlifting event in Marietta, Georgia.

Riverview High School student Ben Greer recently placed second in a powerlifting Special Olympics event in Marietta, Georgia. “I like working out to inspire people to get healthy,” said Greer.

Greer, who has Down Syndrome, has been powerlifting for about a year. He works out three times a week with Specially Fit founder and former USF football player Marky Oliver. Greer is one of the captains for the Specially Fit program.

“Ben is a miracle child,” said Oliver. “I’ve never seen anyone in my life like Ben, and I’ve worked with well over 200 individuals. He’s a specimen, there’s nothing like him.” Oliver said that Greer can deadlift 250 pounds, back squats over 200 pounds and bench presses almost 200 pounds and he keeps getting stronger.

According to Oliver, Greer is also a second-place state champion in powerlifting. Currently he is training for track season, and he works out and goes to the gym on his own every single day.

“Ben is not just physically gifted, he has a great personality and spirit as well,” said Oliver. “Ben is probably one of the most positive people I’ve ever met in my entire life.”

Greer has faced a lot of challenges in his life. According to his mother, Mary Stahl, he was born premature and with a heart defect. He was in the hospital for the first 45 days of his life. Doctors did not know if he would live, and they had to do open-heart surgery on him when he was just 31 days old.

“The fact that he was born against all those odds, I believe that there was a huge supernatural force that wanted him to be on this earth at this time, in this generation for something really fantastic,” said Stahl. “I am grateful every single day that I have gotten to be his mom.”

Greer enjoys playing other sports as well, such as bowling, swimming and track. Greer’s passions include music, singing, dancing and reading his bible. He wants to become a preacher and he has a big social media presence on Facebook and Youtube as well. “We are going to push him as hard as he can go,” said Stahl. “We don’t use the word ‘can’t,’ we always use the word ‘try.’”

Greer’s goal is to compete full-time and eventually be a national powerlifting champion, and to be the strongest version of himself that he can be. Right now Oliver and Greer are looking for sponsors for Greer to represent at competitions to be able to compete more. If you would like to be a sponsor or donate, give Marky Oliver a call at 727-831-2829.

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Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.