by Teresa Parsons
When I first started lifting, I didn’t know many other women who shared my sport. During my first year of competition in 2015, there were never more competitors in my division than there were places on the podium. So I was both excited and surprised when I showed up to my first national meet in 2016 and learned I’d be competing against 17 other girls. I did not know any of them, nor did I know how much they could lift. I had no idea if I was going to get first or last place, and that was exciting! All I knew then was that we all had qualified to be there, and I believed we all shared the common goal of doing our best lifting that day. It was inspiring. I was in shock when the best squat in my weight class that day was almost 340 lbs. Before witnessing that, I didn’t know a squat like that was possible for a woman in my weight class. I didn’t feel defeated that someone could lift more than me; I saw possibility. I was given a new goal.
Now, every time I compete it opens my eyes to new possibilities, and I leave with new goals. I get to do this because of all the other strong girls out there, who push their own limits in the sport of powerlifting, which in turns motivates me to push mine.
The girls in my weight class have provided me with competition. If it was not for them, I would have no one to drive me to want bigger totals year after year. They give me the fuel I need to push through some of my hardest days of training.
The girls across all the weight classes who continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in this sport are demonstrating to me the strength and capability of the human body. I am competitive, and they make me want to be stronger, and to fight to be among the strongest.
The girls out there who are setting personal, provincial, national and world records–and then breaking them–have reminded me what it means to work hard and to never give up. Their strength proves to me that with dedication comes progress.
The girls who I get to lift with every week in the gym have added joy to my life. They offer support to me on my hard days, spots on my heavy days, and something to laugh about on all the days.
To all the girls out there lifting weights, you have created a community of strength and unity among other women who like yourself are passionate about becoming stronger. Thank you for working hard in the gym, and showing up on the platform. You inspire me to keep doing the same. Thank you for pushing your own strength limits and encouraging me to push mine. You have become my powerlifting role models. Thank you for refusing to settle for good enough and continuously working towards improvement. You prove to me that with hard work comes success. Thank you for providing me with a positive supportive training environment. You have allowed me to do the same. Thank you for improving yourself and inspiring others including myself along the way. Your strength has become my strength, and I am grateful to share this sport with all of you.