GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A detective with the Grand Rapids Police Department has done it again as he’s becoming a well-known world powerlifting athlete.
He brought home another medal after competing against first responders from across the world in an Olympic-style competition.
“Again, we’re in the record books that no one will be able to take away from us. We actually now have two gold medals,” GRPD Detective James Vakertzis said.
It’s his third time competing in the World Police and Fire Games. He went to Winnipeg, Canada, last week for the games. More than 15,000 athletes from nearly 70 countries were there.
Vakertzis competed against about 20 other first responders and law enforcement officers in the push-pull lifting category, which combines bench press and deadlift.
His first time at the games was in 2019 in China. He won silver. He went to Rotterdam last year and won gold.
Now he’s a two-time gold medalist at the games and couldn’t be more proud to bring this title back home.
“We’re well-known. Michigan is well-known. Grand Rapids is well-known.” Vakertzis said. “I wear a shirt that says Grand Rapids police on it so everyone knows who we are. So, for me, it’s about the personal goals, but the other large part is being able to put our city and our agency on a world platform that people recognize.”
Despite injuring his hamstring during a competition, Vakertzis was still able to come up on top.
He plans to do a little physical therapy before returning back to the weight room to practice for the next World Police and Fire games, which will be in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2025.
His goal is to bench over 450 pounds and deadlift over 700 pounds.