Paul Barrett has been a champion in the gym and in the boardroom. Born in Belleville on Oct. 15, 1949, Barrett joined the Apollo Barbell Club in his teens and soon became one of its very best Olympic-style weightlifters. He set a British Empire junior record for clean and press in 1967, hoisting 200.5 pounds at a bodyweight of only 148. He won a gold medal at the 1971 Canada Games, was a member of the Canadian weightlifting team for three years from 1974 to 1976 and represented his country at the Pan American Games in Mexico in 1975.
In a seven year span, from 1969-74, Barrett broke seven provincial records and medalled at four Canadian weightlifting championships. During his competitive career, he held provincial titles at both the junior and senior levels. In 1972, at a bodyweight of 164, he became the first local lifter to achieve double bodyweight, lifting 330 pounds in the clean and jerk.
At the administrative level, Barrett was equally successful. He held the presidency of the Canadian Weightlifting Federation from 2001 to 2008 and was a director of the Canadian Olympic Committee during that same period of time. He represented Canadian lifters at the Commonwealth Games from 1997 to 2008, and was weightlifting’s representative on Sports Officials Canada from 2003 to 2008.
As a competitor or official, Barrett has represented Canada at various world championship events in Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Turkey, the Dominican Republic, South America and Europe for more than 40 years. He is a recipient of the Ontario Centennial Medal of Excellence and a life member of the Ontario Weightlifting Association.
Reflecting on his seamless transition from champion weightlifter to respected weightlifting administrator, Barrett once said: “The reason I continue to be involved with sports is to give something back. If I can make the difference for even one athlete, it will all have been worthwhile.”0