Worldwide weightlifter

2007 graduate Kelly Lynch broke several weightlifting records, competing in places such as California, Columbia, Puerto Rico, Belarus and South Korea.

Maddie Oliver, Writer

Only weightlifting for five years, Kelly Lynch broke 13 national weightlifting records and was considered the 23rd best weightlifter in the country at the age of 15, according to her parents Kevin and Theresa. Lynch received a gold medal from Arnold Schwarzenegger at one of her competitions in Columbus, Ohio,

Lynch began her freshman year at BVNW in 2003. Growing up, Lynch said she first got introduced to weightlifting at the age of 10 because it was used as gaining extra strength, support and ability for playing basketball and volleyball.

“I was playing all kinds of sports,” Lynch said. “My dad had a really good friend whose daughter was also playing a lot sports and she started doing weightlifting as strength and conditioning. My dad got me into it.”

Lynch said it was uncommon for girls and women to weight lift at the time because it wasn’t as well-known, which she said made her insecure.

Weightlifting is becoming a more popular sport now, but when I was competing it wasn’t very well-known,” Lynch said. “When I was in high school and told someone I was a weightlifter, I never knew how they were going to react, and I was a little self-conscious about it.”

Kevin and Theresa Lynch said they didn’t know much about weightlifting and just thought it would be just be an activity to boost her athletic ability.

“We really didn’t know what it was going to evolve into,” Kevin said. “We had no idea that she would be that good at it and that it would take her as far as it did. We just thought it was some training to get her better as a basketball player or softball player or track and field athlete.”

Kevin said that she trained at the gym notoriously called “Club Boris” for two hours a day, six days a week and that sometimes she would train in odd locations because weightlifting can be noisy.

  “Weightlifting is pretty obnoxious,” Kevin said. “They don’t let you do this in Planet Fitness, 24 hour fitness, Gold’s Gym, anywhere like that because you are constantly dropping weights and making noise. So we trained in warehouses, behind chiropractic offices. We had a little storefront at one time. We’ve trained at people’s homes.”

After she began weightlifting, Lynch said she knew she wanted to start competing quickly and dropped everything to focus on it.

“My first competition was a few months after I started [weightlifting],” Lynch said. “I won that and qualified for nationals at the same time.”

Kevin said that Lynch competed all over world and went to places such as Columbia, South Korea Puerto Rico and Belarus. In the spring of 2004, Lynch said she had her most memorable competition when she broke her first national record of 105 kilograms in the clean and jerk lift, and later won that entire competition. Separate from that competition, Lynch said she eventually qualified for the world team.

In order to do well at competitions, Theresa said Lynch sacrificed social and academic time.

“Kelly gave up a lot,” Theresa said. “There were a lot of things she couldn’t go do with her friends, or she couldn’t do at school because she had practice or she was out of town with a competition.”

Sarah Beren, former teacher at BVNW who taught English and AVID, said  Lynch was a trusted student of hers.

“She was in the HELA 10 class I was teaching and she asked if she could be my teacher aid,” Beren said. “I adored her. I didn’t really let people who I didn’t adore be my teacher aids. I got to be pretty close with them. I had to really like them and trust them.”

When reflecting on weightlifting competitions, Beren said Lynch was very humble about her achievements.

“She was demure about her accomplishments,” Beren said. “It didn’t seem like she was taking it so seriously until I found out that she was breaking all these records. You think of male bodybuilders as being testosterone-filled and aggressive. Kelly was neither of those things. She was always laid-back and kind. She came off as being sweet and happy.”

Lynch trained and competed all four years at BVNW and later attended the University of Colorado Springs in Colorado. While Lynch lived and trained at their Olympic Training Center, Kevin said she injured her shoulder when she was a sophomore at college that lessened her training schedule.

“I was injured for about a year,” Lynch said. “I went from training many hours a day to just doing physical therapy and a pared-down workout schedule. My shoulder had become too flexible overtime and the bones were pinching the tendons.”

When she was fully recovered, she said her heart wasn’t in the sport anymore and she decided to stop weightlifting altogether.

“When I was finally healed up and ready to lift again, my heart wasn’t in it the same as it was before,” Lynch said.“I just stopped training and said goodbye to my coach at the time. I think he knew that it was coming and wasn’t surprised by it.”

Although Lynch said that quitting weightlifting was a relief, she missed the competitive aspect of the sport..   

“It was freeing at first because I could suddenly do whatever I wanted to without having to think about its impact on my training,” Lynch said. “I started doing other workouts for fun instead of as my job. I don’t miss lifting, and I don’t miss the stress, but I do miss the competing and some of the friends that I made in the sport and have lost touch with.”

Lynch said even though she doesn’t weight lift anymore, the sport has still taught her many lessons she continues to use years after leaving it behind.

“I’ve figured out a lot of self confidence out of it that I wouldn’t have gotten from other things,” Lynch said. “Especially in weightlifting, I was out there on the platform by myself, there’s nobody else around, so I had to just rely on myself and trust myself a lot. Learning to rely on myself and trust myself was probably a big thing.”

Lynch currently is the head of broker division of Airbo, a company involving technology that helps employee relations and communications.