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by Shanon Weaver

What do you call a man in his sixties who has trained extensively in various martial arts, holds multiple weightlifting championships and world records, and still works as a professional bodyguard?

Well…whatever he wants to be called, if you ask me.

We all love stories of strength, dedication, and resilience, and Eddie Swanson's stands out. He spent the first decade of his life in Kingston, Jamaica with his mother and father, but his life would quickly be set on a new trajectory.

"My mother was American, and my father was Jamaican," Eddie said. "After my father passed away when I was ten, my mother moved us to the United States to be closer to her relatives."

Settling in Chattanooga, Tennessee after his father’s passing, Eddie faced challenges as he adjusted to a new country and culture. Living in what he called “the projects” didn’t help, and his differences soon brought unwelcome attention. His mother, however, had an idea to help Eddie help himself.

"I still had a thick accent, and I was kind of a little guy, so I got bullied in school," he said. "But everything changed when my mother enrolled me in karate classes at the age of eleven. As I got better at it, people stopped bullying me, that’s for sure."

Shotokan Karate became Eddie's refuge. It empowered him to stand up to his bullies and build confidence in himself…but he didn’t stop there. As his passion for martial arts grew, so did his interest in overall physical fitness. On his thirteenth birthday, his mother gave him a set of concrete-filled plastic weights, which sparked in him a lifelong love of lifting.

Throughout high school and the years beyond, Eddie excelled in various sports including football, track, and wrestling. He even combined his karate and wrestling skills well before Mixed Martial Arts fighting became popular. He spent years developing his physique as a bodybuilder, winning many titles, and gracing a few well-known magazine covers. But in powerlifting, Eddie found his true passion (though legend has it he switched from bodybuilding to powerlifting because he hated shaving his whole body).

Whereas competitive weightlifting develops explosive power in the standard “snatch” and “clean and jerk,” Powerlifting consists of three specific lifts: the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift. Each competitor has three chances to lift as much weight as possible, but there’s a catch; you can only increase weight, and you must complete the current weight before doing so.

"Powerlifting became my passion," Eddie said. "It's not just about lifting heavy weights; it's about pushing yourself beyond your limits."

Eddie's dedication to powerlifting paid off, earning him numerous awards, world records, and championships over the years. From winning Mr. Georgia in 1986 to collecting multiple world championships and setting world records in power curling, Eddie's name became synonymous with strength and excellence in the powerlifting community.

But Eddie's journey doesn’t end there. Alongside his achievements in powerlifting, Eddie also pursued a career in law enforcement, serving as a police officer in Chattanooga for seven years. His career in law enforcement eventually led him to Nashville, TN where he continues to make a difference in his community through security work and bodyguard services.

"Protecting others became another calling," Eddie explained. "I've had the honor of working with some incredible individuals, like Prince and Bon Jovi, and each experience has been unforgettable."

Despite his many accomplishments, Eddie remains humble and grounded, guided by the values instilled in him by his late mother.

"My mother was my everything," Eddie said. "She was my biggest cheerleader and the reason I am who I am today."

As Eddie looks ahead to the future (and an upcoming move to Atlanta), he continues to embrace new challenges.

"Age is just a number," he said. "As long as you have the drive and passion to pursue your dreams, anything is possible."

With a legacy of strength, perseverance, and unwavering determination, Eddie Swanson's story serves as a testament to the power of the human spirit. As he embarks on the next chapter of his journey, one thing is clear: Eddie Swanson is a true champion in every sense of the word.

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