Jerry Marentette is the most decorated athlete in the history of Canadian power lifting. A world-class, record-setting lifter, he owns a staggering 389 meet, provincial, and national records. He is the first Canadian to lift four times his body weight.
In his youth, Marentette attended Belle River High School, where he was a very successful wrestler as a freshman. When he suffered a shoulder injury, Marentette turned to weightlifting as a means of rehabilitating himself as quickly as possible. Through a friend, he met Roger Chauvin of Emeryville, who introduced him to the sport of powerlifting. Needless to say, Marentette’s sporting pursuits took a fateful turn from that point onward.
After only two months of training, Marentette competed in his first meet in June 1974. Within three months of his debut, Marentette set his first Canadian record. A year later, he claimed the Ontario and Canadian Championships and went on to represent his country at the World Championships. Amazingly, he finished in sixth place in the 132-pound weight class.
In the years since, Marentette has lifted with distinction across the globe in locations as diverse as Australia, Finland, India, South Africa, and the Czech Republic. During his five decades in competitive lifting, Marentette has competed in 11 different weight classes ranging between 114 and 230 pounds. He broke his first unofficial world record in 1978 by squatting 505 pounds with a 132-pound bodyweight. Marentette has won the Canadian Championship 31 times and competed in numerous North American Championships. He has also competed at the Pan Am and Commonwealth Games and 16 World Championships. He twice won the world title in his weight class.
Marentette has always relished the independent, one-on-one nature of his sport. A living legend in the Canadian powerlifting community, Marentette is the first powerlifter to be inducted into the WECSHOF. Strength, dedication, a dogged determination, and consistent high-level performances have always been the hallmarks of his unprecedented career.
Like the proverbial fine wine, Marentette seems to only get better with age. In 2007, more than 30 years after he first hoisted a barbell and plates, he was named Athlete of the Year by the Canadian Powerlifting Association. Two years later, he again captured the award and was inducted into the Canadian Powerlifting Hall of Fame. He has received the Bill Jamison Award, the highest honour a Canadian powerlifter can receive. While Marentette’s competitive schedule was curtailed somewhat as he entered his mid-50s, he continued to coach and mentor the next generation of local powerlifters.
At the time of his induction into the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame, Marentette was still actively competing at the age of 57. He looked forward to turning 60, as it would open an entirely new tier of age-group records for him to break.