Riley Gelling

BUTTE — Olympic Weightlifting is a sport most people will never try. It is difficult and requires a high level of dedication, strength, and patience.

Riley Gelling, a 12-year-old from Butte, shows these traits to an extent far beyond his years. But every time he lifts the barbell, he further proves his perseverance, as he never thought he would ever get to participate in the sport he loved just a few months ago.

“My bone in the bottom of my femur was dead,” Gelling said, “so I couldn’t do anything with that leg.”

About a 18 months ago, he was diagnosed with Osetonecrosis — a disease caused by a loss of blood supply to the bone. This disease can result from prior injury, but can also happen inexplicably. Gelling was unable to squat or put serious pressure on his leg — an unfortunate injury, given his sport of choice.

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The national competition will be held in Atlanta this June, and he will be making the trip to Georgia. His leg is expected to be back to normal for the meet. Gelling will enter Atlanta with a leg up on the competition.

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Montana Sport’s  Damon Turbitt