Gillingham earns powerful honor
If powerlifting were an Olympic sport, Brad Gillingham might well be the "Michael Phelps" of the sport. The Minneota resident who grew up in Little Falls earned 37 total medals at World Championships over a two-decade career.
Gillingham's achievements in the sport were recently recognized by being inducted into the USA Powerlifting Hall of Fame this summer. USA Powerlifting (USAPL) is the leading powerlifting organization in the United States and is a member of the International in the United States and is a member of the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF), the governing body of powerlifting internationally.
Rep. Chris Swedzinski heard about the Hall of Fame honor Gillingham received and wrote a House of Representatives resolution that was signed by himself; Melissa Hortman, Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives; and Ryan Winkler, Chair of the Rules and Legislative Administration; and was sent it to Gillingham two weeks ago.
The resolution listed all of Gillingham's powerlifting accomplishments over his career. The resolution concluded with "BE IT RESOLVED by the Committee on Rules and Legislative Administration of the House of Representatives of the State of Minnesota that congratulates Brad Gillingham on being inducted into the USA Powerlifting Hall of Fame.
"This is really nice. I'm very grateful to Chris and the others," said Gillingham, looking at the framed document with pride. "This really captures a lifetime of work."
Because of the COVID pandemic, there was no official USA Powerlifting Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Gillingham, whose father Gale was a standout All-Pro offensive lineman with the Green Bay Packers and a proponent of weightlifting, began his competitive lifting career in the early 2000s.
"My dad coached me through all of my powerlifting competitions before he died (in 2011)," said Brad, who lives in Minneota and works for Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in Marshall. "I started lifting when I was five years old."
Gillingham, 55, grew up in Wisconsin until his family moved to Little Falls when he was in high school. He graduated from Little Falls High School in 1984 but did not play football like his famous father. Instead, he competed in basketball and track and field. He then went to college at St. Cloud State University.
Powerlifting is comprised of three lifts: the bench press, squat and deadlift. Competitions may consist of one, two or all three of the aforementioned lifts.
Gillingham, who is "still somewhat competitive", is a six-time IPF World Powerlifting champion and a 14-time USAPL National Powerlifting champion. His 37 World Championship medals consist of 24 gold, 11 silver and 2 bronze.
He has also set numerous IPF Open world records, including: the 120-over kg Class with a 395 kg (870 pounds) deadlift at the 2011 IPF Pacific Invitational in Melbourne, Australia, and a 397.5 kg (876 pounds) deadlift at the 2011 IPF World Championships in Pilsen, Czech Republic.
Brad also set the IPF Open Classic World Record deadlift at the 2013 IPF Classic World Championships in Suzdal, Russia with a 375 kg (826 pounds) deadlift. He has set 16 IPF Masters World Records in all, including a 400 kg (881 pounds) deadlift at the 2010 IPF World Championships in South Africa and a 1057.5 kg (2,331 pounds) total lift at the 2008 IPF Masters World Championships in Palm, Springs, CA.
Powerlifting is currently not an official sport of the Olympic Games. Gillingham has competed in three World Games three times, which are an international multi-sport event comprising of sports that are not contested in the Olympic Games. They are held every four years, one year after the Summer Olympics, over the course of 11 days.
Gillingham won a silver medal in the 2001 World Games in Japan.
He was inducted into the IPF Hall of Fame in 2006, as well as the IPF North American Powerlifting Federation Hall of Fame that same year. In 2010, he was inducted into the Minnesota Chapter of the National Strength Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Brad and his wife Diane have been married for 26 years. They have two daughters, Emily and Elizabeth.
Brad is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and coaches several elite powerlifters and athletes. He is currently a weight training coach for wrestling and volleyball athletes at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.