Local athlete saves competitor from drowning during CrossFit Games

(Source: Kelly Vandervoort)
(Source: Kelly Vandervoort)
Gus Vandervoort (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Gus Vandervoort (Source: WMC Action News 5)

DESOTO COUNTY, MS (WMC) - A CrossFit athlete from DeSoto County who placed 12th overall in his division at The CrossFit Games did more than show the world he's an incredible athlete. Gus Vandervoort showed the world that he's got heart.

Vandervoort competed in the Master's Men (55-59) division at The CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin last weekend. He also helped to save a competitor's life.

"I said, 'What do you need from me?' and he said, 'I'm drowning,' and went down the third time," said Vandervoort.

Will Powell, the man who was struggling in the water, happened to be one of Vandervoort's heroes. But, this time, his hero needed help during the swimming portion of the competition.

"He was struggling and in his eyes, he was distressed," Vandervoort said. "I saw him in the murky water and I rolled him up and kicked as hard as I could and put my hands on his lats and pushed him up to the top of the water."

Vandervoort and a fellow athlete, Robert Caslin, were able to help Powell to safety and eventually they all finished the race.

"I waited at the finish line just to give him a a hug and he said, 'Gus, thanks,'" he recalled. "The rest of the weekend, he didn't call me Gus, he called me 'lifesaver.'"

Vandervoort finished 12th overall in the Men's Masters (55-59) division at The Games last weekend, while Powell finished 13th. Powell ranked 1st in his division in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

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