An athlete competing in the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games has just caught the attention of none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. The bodybuilder turned action movie legend recently shared a video of powerlifter Kevin Cantrell performing an impressive 501-pound deadlift at the Special Olympics in Orlando, Florida.
The ESPN footage shows Cantrell approaching the mat, pulling 501 pounds on the bar while wearing a lifting belt, and then beating his chest and punching the air triumphantly as the spectators cheer on his milestone achievement of entering the 500-pound club. It’s also worth noting that instead of dropping the bar, Cantrell lowered it slowly and carefully, demonstrating an even more impressive degree of strength and control as a lifter.
“You inspire me, Kevin!” Schwarzenegger wrote in the caption.
Unfortunately, while plenty of commenters responded warmly to Schwarzenegger’s celebration of Cantrell’s accomplishment, others left negative comments. Rather than deleting them, Schwarzenegger instead chose to see this as a “teachable moment” for the trolls.
“You have two possible paths ahead,” he responded. “Right now, I guarantee you that these athletes have more courage, compassion, brains, skill – actually more of every positive human quality than you. So take their path – you could learn from them, and try to challenge yourself, to give back, to add something from the world. Or you can stay on your path, and keep being a sad, pitiful, jealous internet troll who adds nothing to the world but mocks anyone who does out of small-minded jealousy. I know what you really want is attention, so let me be clear. If you choose to keep going this way, no one will ever remember you.”
As the founder of events like the Arnold Sports Festival, Schwarzenegger has long espoused his belief that sport, fitness and friendly competition can help people overcome their differences and find common ground. Earlier this year, he tripled the second place prize money at the Arnold Strongman Classic for Ukrainian athlete and former World’s Strongest Man title holder Oleksii Novikov after learning that Novikov planned to use his winnings to help equip civilians with body armor amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“You always see how sports brings everyone together,” he said at the time. “You’ve seen here not only the strongest men in the world competing, but you also have seen a Ukrainian athlete and a Russian athlete competing in the same competition.”
This article was first published on Men’s Health US.