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Godfather of powerlifting celebrating half century in the sport

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Powerlifting has been in Jerry Marentette's life for 50 years, “I started right in this school.”

The former Belle River District High School student was a scrawny 110-pound guy who evolved into a powerhouse.

Marentette has broken well over 400 records through 11 different weight classes.

“Every one of these meets or trophies that I have means something to me. That's why I kept going at it,” he said.

A high school meet Friday kicked off a two-day celebration of Marentette's half century in the sport.

“It's really cool. He's a nice dude. He helped me out a lot when I started working out,” said 14-year old Camden Gerard, who works out at PowerPit Gym, considered the epicenter of the sport in the area.

”When you're in the gym and he walks in he'll always show you some help, help you out. He's just a real great lifter and a great person,” said Gerard.

Sheldon Duncan grew up in the sport with the help of Marentette and is now coaching the Belle River team.

“I've always dreamt of lifting with my son and now I'm coaching my son and I'm coaching his school team and that's just from Jerry always giving back,” said Duncan.

The student-athletes are a part of the 68-year old's legacy because of the high school meet he started 20 years ago.

“I want to continue it. I'm in Grade 9, so obviously I have more opportunities,” said student Abbey Charron, who turned to powerlifting after finding out she didn’t make the volleyball team.

Marentette still competes and hopes to win the worlds for a sixth time at the ripe young age of 70, ”You know what. I still like competing against myself.”

The celebration continues at Belle River District High School Saturday. An open meet is being held with over 50 powerlifters coming in from across the province.

There is a small fee to get in with a portion of the money going towards scholarship opportunities.

The event goes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the school gym.

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