BELMONT — While surfing the Internet, Robert Britt felt his competitive juices flowing again.
Britt stumbled across the law enforcement bench press state record in the 198-pound division and thought to himself that he could break it.
Never mind that Britt is 51 and was forced to stop competing after several surgeries. Even though Britt hadn’t entered a competition in several years, he was determined to set a new record.
“I tore my rotator cuff and my bicep in 2008 and had surgery in 2009,” Britt said. “I saw the record was set a while ago and I thought I can break it.”
Britt accomplished his goal by setting the new mark of 400 pounds, topping the old mark by 50 pounds. He said he started at 315 pounds, moved up to 365 pounds before increasing the weight to 400 on his third and final attempt.
His lift allowed him to capture the law enforcement division, while battling against competitors half his age. Britt estimated the average age of his fellow lifters was 35 years of age. In addition, Britt took first place in the Masters (50-54) class at 198 pounds.
His victory allows him to advance to the national law enforcement power lifting championships this fall in Charlotte.
Britt, a member of the Hamlet Police Department that is assigned to Richmond Community College, said he missed the camaraderie the competitors share during the events as well as the stories his fellow law enforcement officers like to share.
“I just listen now instead of telling mine,” Britt said laughing. “I missed being around that.”
The former shift lieutenant with the Scotland Sheriff’s Office and member of the SWAT team said he started lifting while at the North Carolina Justice Academy in Salemburg. He continued his workouts after becoming a full-time officer when one of his lifting buddies told him he should consider competing as a power lifter.
“I was just doing it for the job,” Britt said. “As I was lifting others would hit a plateau and I would continue to make gains. On a whim someone said I should enter a competition.”
Britt did and he fell in love with the sport. Before stepping away because of injuries, Britt claimed 10 state championships and a national title.
He wasn’t the only one in his family to do well in competitions. His sister, Marilyn Leviner, won the Masters division at the Ms. North Carolina bodybuilding competition in the mid 1990s.
Reach sports editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 or on Twitter @scgolfer.