Just before it was my turn to go up, Bruce, our coach, came around the corner aiming right for me looking so angry! Bruce, so tall and huge and intimidating with red eyes, bent forward to me and put his face right into my face. He said, “They are red flagging all the Canadian lifters, they told me we are not going down far enough when we squat”! When you squat properly, as the weight is on your back and you begin the squat, you must bend down bending your knees, your buttocks must go lower than your knees. That is considered a proper squat. Apparently, we were told none of the Canadian lifters were doing that which means they were all being disqualified. One by one. Yelling in my face he continued to say,” I will go the bottom of the stage in front of you. Look for me. When you squat, I want you to focus on ME! Do not stand or push the weight up until you hear me yell PUSH IT UP! I will make sure you go low enough so your not red flagged. Our hope is in you. Watch for me. Look at me. Listen to me”! He sat me down right away and undid the wraps on my wrists and knees. He began to re wrap my knees so tight that it was cutting off my circulation! He then began wrapping my wrists just as tight. My hands went numb. My heart was beating so fast. Some lifters, right before going on stage, had a quick sniff of pneumonia and walked out. I had tried it once months ago before a lift and it messed my head up. No way was I able to do that! I didn’t need it anyways. I had so much anger always built up inside me naturally, I didn’t need to sniff anything.
Now was the time. My name was called. I could hear the cheering and yelling and I was ready! Bruce helped me up out of the chair and towards the stage. I walked like I was robotic. Wrapped so tightly and a very tight squat suit, it was a huge effort to even make it TO the stage. Oh dear Lord, let me just do this for me, my coach, my team! As we turned the corner onto the stage, Bruce naturally, grabbed the pneumonia and shoved it under my nose. Startled, I breathed in! It took him a split second to realize that I don’t sniff that stuff but it was too late. I already took a deep breath in and my head was spinning. He walked me up to the squat rack and then left me to the spotters. Bruce made his way down to the front of the stage and my eyes followed him. I needed to see and listen to his screaming at me when it was time to push it up! I had four spotters with me, two on each side. I was ready. I waited anxiously waited for the judges cue to do my squat. The crowd went silent. Everyone waiting for the hand gesture from the main judge. I was so numb! No blood flow. “Hurry up please”! I thought. Finally, the cue. I got the weight on my back. Held it tight, stepped backwards a few feet and waited for the judges cue to now squat. The judge lowered his hand, the moment was here. I began squatting the weight. Lower, lower, down slowly. It was so heavy! I still had two more heavier lifts to do and wow this one was heavy! I needed to qualify unlike my fellow lifters. When I thought I could go no lower, Bruce wasn’t saying push it up yet! I thought that’s low enough!! I listened for his voice, inching my way down as far as I could go. The pain was unbearable but I kept going lower. Finally, I heard his voice yell “PUSH IT UP NOW, NOW, NOW”! I was so relieved. Along with his yelling, the crowd began yelling as well! Everyone wanted to see a Canadian qualify! I pushed it up so fast. All the tightness with the wraps sure helped me spring back up. Now I know why he wrapped me up so tight! I sprung back up like a breeze! Everyone was yelling and cheering. It was so loud! Then complete silence. Everyone’s face was turned towards the flags. I needed two or more green flags to pass. Everyone’s eyes glued and waiting. First green flag! Everyone screamed. Second green flag, everyone screamed and continued to scream. I already passes with the two. Three green flags!! My coach ran up onto the stage and hugged me. He was so happy. I could hear the roars from my family and team members. I did it! Now I could legally continue on with the competition.
I had finish my squats and was on to bench press. I opened at 200 lbs. My chest forced itself to pop out further than usual from my tight squat suit. When I layed down on the bench to press the weight, my chest stuck out so far that as long as the bar touched it, it was a good press. With bench press, you just had to take the bar off the rack, touch your chest and rack it back up to pass. Well, with my chest out so far, I only had a short way to go other than the rest! So funny. The guys were all mad at me because of that. I passed.
Onto the deadlift. I was getting so tired. Being high on adrenalin for the day was super tiring. My turn for deadlift. You have to bend down, pick up the bar, and stand up straight locking your knees and pulling your shoulders back in a locked position. Wait in that locked position until the judges cue you to put the weight down. I passed all my weight predictions. Three green flags! I was done. An American girl was my only competition. She was super strong and in my weight class. I knew deep down that I had far surpassed her in my weight lifted when they tallied the total weights for each lifter, to determine the winners. Sweating, exhausted, mind blown and excited…all the lifters waited anxiously for the awards and placements. We were able to go into the audience and wait with our friends and family.
The time was here. Weights cleared and the judges along with the medals and trophies, were ready to announce the winners. The cameras were all rolling. Media everywhere. All the lifters sweaty, covered with chalk, habing to make television appearances if they won. Starting with the women, going through the pound classes. I would be last in the super heavy weights. It was time. A lady from Germany taking third place. The ladt from the U.S. taking second which could only mean one thing….first place from Calgary Canada, ME! Ah! I did it! Everyone was cheering and clapping and high fiving me all the way up to the stage. They put the medal around my neck and handed me the beautiful first place trophy. I had lifted 1430 lbs making me the strongest woman in the world. The U.S. came in at 1050. It was so great. My coach came up on stage as well and personally shook my hand and bear hugged me.
It was over..the interviews, the excitement. It was time to go to our hotel rooms. I was so hungry! I just have ordered at least 8 or 10 dishes off the inroom dining menu. I ate it all. I fell asleep right after the last bite. The following morning, I was so sore I couldn’t move. My body screamed from pain not to move. After a few days of scorching heat and trying to tour Vegas in pain, it was time to go home. Home sweet home. What an experience.