Airman sets world bench press record

  • Published
  • By Richard Zowie
  • 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
Gene Bell recently set world and national records with a 514-pound bench press at the USA Powerlifting National Bench Press Championships in Bedford Heights, Ohio.

The quarter-ton-plus lift gave Bell, a master sergeant assigned to the Air Force Services Agency, the Master's World Bench Press and USA National record in the 198-pound division.

"To be able to lift that much weight takes genetics, dedication and the ability to plan and visualize your goals," said Bell, who has lifted as much as 565 pounds in training sessions.

With the lift, Bell placed third in the Open division and won the Masters division at the championship. He was also selected as a first alternate team member and as an assistant team coach for Team USA for the International Powerlifting Federation World Bench Press Championships, which will be held Dec. 5 to 8 in Luxembourg.

Bell added the record and his win to his collection of 13 USA National powerlifting titles and 10 International Powerlifting Federation World powerlifting titles.

According to Bell, in the 27 years he has been powerlifting, he has set more than 20 world records.

"Setting and achieving goals of attaining world records gives me a lot of satisfaction," Bell said.

The powerlifter also said he holds the highest posted total of any powerlifter in the sport's history in a sanctioned meet in the 181-pound division with 2,110 total pounds. This total, which he attained in 1988, consists of an 847.5-pound squat, 529.3-pound bench press and a 733.5-pound deadlift.

Bell has also been inducted into the Air Force Heritage Hall of Fame and the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Sports Hall of Fame. He has been awarded Air Force Athlete of the Year, Pacific Air Command Athlete of the Year, USAFE Athlete of the Year and USPL Powerlifter of the Year.