OUR very own Les Grills was one lift away from greatness that would rival Arnold Schwarzenegger himself.
The 28-year-old powerlifter overcame a horrific accident at the 2015 world championships to finish second at the Arnold Classic ProRaw under-80kg invitational in Melbourne last weekend.
Les bench-pressed 202.5kg and squatted 280kg which broke his previous personal best lifts, but he cramped up on the deadlift and could only manage a substandard lift.
But it was enough for Les to place second and collect the massive trophy with the three lifts combined.
But the most miraculous part of the story is that less than two years ago he bulged multiple discs in his back squatting 270kg at the world championships in Las Vegas.
"I started coming down and felt something really wrong. In the video, you can see me shaking my head to the spotters to grab it, but they didn't,” he said.
"In the end I had to tip over and ease it over my head.
"In terms of pain, for days later I couldn't make any quick movements; when I sneezed or cough too hard it would drop my legs from under me.”
He took the next six months off from lifting and was only lifting light weights less than a year ago before he finally started putting weight back on.
"This whole lead up, every squat and deadlift there was a fear in the back of my mind,” he said.
"For pretty much the entire preparation I was thinking, 'I've booked my accommodation, I could have wasted all this money and training if I get injured again'.
"It was pretty damn relieving to have been able to hit more weight than I ever had after having so long trying to rebuild myself.
"I've gone from sneezing and collapsing because the back pain is so excruciating to adding 10kg to my best ever squat.”
Unfortunately, Les didn't get to meet Arnie, but he said it was still inspiring to see him.
"He did come through and he watched a bit of power lifting, but he had an entourage of about 10 security guards at all times,” he said.
"Arnie is definitely someone everyone looks up to regardless of sport for his dedication and determination to achieve his goals.”
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