Osborne began weightlifting in 1962, to gain weight and build muscle. Five years later he was encouraged to try powerlifting because he was quite strong for his size. Osborne won his first competition and, in 1968, took first place at the Ontario and Canadian Powerlifting Championships. In 1980, weighing in at only 114 pounds, Osborne set a new Canadian deadlift record of 415 pounds. This record still stands. His athletic achievements also include setting three Pan American records in 1975.