“Held the Gun to My Head, I Pulled the Trigger”: World Record Powerlifter Confesses Blood-Curdling Truth About His 17-Year-Old Self

Published 09/05/2023, 9:30 AM EDT

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To succeed in the powerlifting arena one has to lift heavy weights to set world records, and the path is not devoid of serious injuries. But the world record champion Joe Sullivan outperforms himself to set unbreakable records despite sustaining injuries. The renowned powerlifter recently appeared on the Straight Outta The Lair podcast and reflected on his journey towards becoming a successful athlete. 

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Sullivan’s journey was not smooth, and he has witnessed his share of struggles to realize his mental and physical strength. The powerlifter opened up about his lows in the podcast with Mr. Olympia’s host. 

Joe Sullivan’s heartbreaking story

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Strong resolution and willpower come into play to lift heavy at the gym. Powerlifters and bodybuilders often display these characteristics in the gym to improve their strength and physique. But getting strong mentally requires a lot of self-work. Joe Sullivan’s story can be an example of this. 

He didn’t give up on his career after an injury in 2018 and tried various means to get back stronger. While narrating the story of his recovery in the Straight Outta The Lair podcast, Sullivan confessed a blood-chilling tale from his teens. “I already tried to commit suicide when I was 17 years old,” he confessed. His suicidal thoughts are due to the poor financial condition of his family. 

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His dad worked three jobs to provide for the family, and his mum was sick, which made Sullivan feel that he was a burden to his parents despite being the only child. “I held the gun to my head, I pulled the trigger and it jammed,” he revealed. Luckily the powerlifter survived the hardships and made a name in the powerlifting community. However, life had put him to the test again in 2018.

The powerlifter fought back to heal and lift

The harsh lessons of life taught Joe Sullivan to adapt and perform. He took serious actions to improve himself and is now a 5x Open All-Time World Record holder. While detailing about the injury when squatting 675 lbs, Sullivan confessed that he damaged his dorsal scapular nerve in the process. 

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The injury restrained him from training his upper body, and the powerlifter was on a mission to heal himself. “I am not that injury, that is not my identity,” he asserted in the podcast. So he soon recovered and was back at his game. 

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The bodybuilding and powerlifting world has many such heroes who overcame a disastrous past to build an illustrative career. But one cannot disagree with the mental strength Joe Sullivan possessed to overcome his dark phase. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below! 

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Written by:

Etha Bindu Rani

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Etha Bindu Rani is an American sportswriter at EssentiallySports. Being a fitness enthusiast, she considers Ronnie Coleman and Chris Bumstead as her inspirations. Apart from that, Etha is passionate about writing.
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