Oops! Apparently I've accidentally deleted all of my images. I'll see about fixing that soon.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Weight of the World

 The human body is amazing and even more so the human mind, pushing the body past its 'limits.'

Many people know I've been watching one particular Olympian the last couple of months, weightlifter Sarah Robles. I admire her pertinacious spirit and personal and physical strength. And as I've followed her on Facebook I've been delighted to find we even have some interests in common. 

(FYI: Spoilers ahead if you haven't caught up on your events yet!)

Now I've never been a 'weightlifter,' but I did lift weights in college for a while just as a part of my regular workout routine. I often find myself missing that, but for many reasons (mostly budgetary) I've not been able to lift since then. (I had access to weights for a while when I could afford a gym membership but there were always big guys just *sitting and watching tv* on the equipment I wanted to use & I hadn't yet found my inner honeybadger so I just avoided them and sulked.)

Pics of athletes via NBCOlympics.com

Anyhow, once the Olympics started my husband and I (I've dragged him willingly on board the Robles Fan Train with me) have been watching the rest of the female weightlifters compete in the days leading up to Sarah's weight class. It has been thrilling.

I'm not sure if it's just because it's the Olympics but I find myself less rooting for one person to win (though I will be Sunday) and more cheering each gal on and hoping that she makes her lift. I've found myself impressed with the strength and poise of nearly all of them. I've seen the agony of injury and had the thrill of watching a world record being broken. Let's just say, I don't think I'll be forgetting what the Kazakhstan flag looks like any time soon.

So often during Olympic events athletes have to be so focused on their particular event that they don't get to show a lot of personality. Well, let me tell you, these women have it and show it. From the ones who yell (or squeak-yell as the case may be lol) as they come on stage and before they lift, to the widely varying instant looks of triumph or disappointment when they realize whether they have made the lift or not they display pieces of themselves for all the world to see along with their physical prowess.

check out the original here

If you missed the gymnastics during the Women's 58k, Romela was awesome.

It's worth remembering that it is only just within my lifetime that physically strong women have gone from being a freak show to being an accepted part of society. The way of a female weightlifter is still not an easy one, though, and requires a strength of spirit and not just of body to get her to Olympic levels, though. For this I am grateful to all of them for their hard work and determination.

These women are lifting about two times their body mass. That alone is impressive. Early on, having only seen Sarah Robles lift (in videos online) I had assumed most weightlifters to be tall people. I always assume tall people have more advantages in life: popularity, ease of movement through a crowd, reaching high shelves, lifting long bars of weights. Well, it isn't so. Apparently there are plenty of awesome female weightlifters that are no taller than I am. Yay for shorties!

I was all prepared to talk about the 'fashion' side of the Olympic weightlifters, since that's more the area of this blog. Not that there hasn't been hair and nails, tattoos and jewelry, and unitards of all sorts to talk about, but a message on Sarah's fb yesterday made me rethink this:

So you know what? I still have plans to talk about athletes and fashion, but not today. Today it's about the weightlifters, it's about the weightlifting, it's about the beauty of strength.

And in the morning my husband, my mother, and I will gather and drink tea and eat sweet rolls and watch the +75 women lift incredible amounts and cheer for everyone and hope for Sarah to bring home the gold.

EDIT: NBC isn't airing this event. I'm pretty d@mn upset about that. Seriously. Grrrr. Not sure when they'll post up the video, but I'll certainly be watching that as soon as it's up. In the mean time it looks like http://www.theatlanticwire.com has been liveblogging throughout the Games so hopefully we can at least follow along that way.

Hope you're having a wonderful Olympic weekend!

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