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Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Honors 'Powerlifting Legend' With Down Syndrome In New Short Film

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On April 10, a new film featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson called “The Rock’s Rock” was released in honor of Johnson’s life-long friend, Milton McBride Rosen, who has Down syndrome. The film, which includes Robin Roberts and ESPN as executive producers, is part of a year long-video series in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics.

According to the film, when Rosen was 15, he was adopted by Bruce Rosen and his twin brother Al Rosen, who were co-owners of the Boddy Shoppe gym. The Rosen brothers were only 23 years old at the time they adopted Milton Rosen. This made Bruce Rosen the first single man in Florida to adopt a child. The gym was central to Milton Rosen’s upbringing.

The six-minute film also focuses on how Milton Rosen greatly impacted Johnson and his father. Johnson was only 5 or 6 years old when he first met Rosen in Tampa, Florida. It was Rosen who taught Johnson how to work out. They became fast friends and were roommates for a while when the Johnson family moved in with the Rosens. “We became like brothers,” Johnson says in the film.

Rosen became involved in Special Olympics, and when weight lifting was added, he thrived. Rosen was able to bench double his body weight. According to the Special Olympics’ website, Rosen was a “powerlifting legend with Special Olympics Florida” and “a Game Changer in the lives of some of the world’s greatest athletes.”

Years later, Milton also became important to Johnson’s father, WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson. According to an interview with Rocky Johnson in the film, it was Rosen who helped him get sober. The film makes clear that Rosen, now 57, has had a big impact on those around him.

“When you get somebody who just comes around and is not judging and looks at you and loves you and will cry with you… His heart is boundless, the love he has is boundless, his empathy is boundless,” Johnson says as the film concludes. “That’s how Milton has impacted my life in ways I could never have imagined.”

And if you ask Milton Rosen, he’ll tell you he is stronger than Johnson. Al Rosen agreed: “Pound for pound, Milton was the strongest guy in the gym.”

“The Rock’s Rock” has been featured on ESPN and “Good Morning America.” The Special Olympics is also highlighting Rosen’s story on its website.

Image via Wikimedia Commons/Eva Rinaldi

Originally published: April 18, 2019
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