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Don’t let your situation dictate your

determination or affect your destination

It takes mental and physical strength to be a top athlete — and to win at life. Gabe Gigout of Elgin has shown that he has plenty of both. 

Gabe, 15, is one of the best weight-lifters in the state, maybe even the nation. He recently set a state benchpress record for his weight class and will soon compete on a national level. 

His accomplishments are especially impressive given his physical limitations. He depends on a wheelchair to get around, and has had numerous surgeries to treat spina bifida, a condition caused when the spinal column doesn’t close completely. He recently had his 31st major surgery.

In November 2010 after his fifth surgery of the year, Gabe decided he wanted to someday enter the Paralympics, a tough competitive sports league for people in wheelchairs. In April of 2011, he began seriously working out on weights. 

Gabe’s first powerlifting meet was in Temple on Oct. 30. He competed against non-disabled weightlifters and broke the state record for his age and weight, benchpressing 155 pounds. 

Weighing only 98 pounds, Gabe competes at the 114 weight classification, which is as low as it goes. At the Longhorn Classic on Nov. 12, he set a new state record, lifting 171.9 pounds.  On Dec. 17, he will travel to San Antonio and compete for the national record. The national record is 176.4 pounds — Gabe has been lifting 180 pounds, two weeks away from competition. 


“It’s a lot of fun,” Gabe said of weightlifting. “My goal is to show people how God helps me compete even though I’m disabled. When they see how much I can accomplish, it might help them consider how much they can accomplish with the gifts God has given them.”

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2015 WORLD Benchpress Champion
GOLD Medal - 297 lbs, 116 lb class