Powerlifters often go unnoticed, remaining in the shadows of their more recognized athletic counterparts. But lifter Abbey Watson, who at age 13 already holds eight world records, is strong-arming people into taking notice.
The Colorado native recently returned from the Powerlifting Federation national competition in Oklahoma City with several achievements under her belt, including the word record for squats in her weight class, according to Denver’s NBC affiliate KUSA. She set the record by lifting 143.3 pounds — nearly 40 pounds more than her body weight.
Three years ago, Watson’s father brought her along to a gym outside Denver, where she tried her hand at weight lifting. She enjoyed it so much that she returned for several more sessions, eventually attending workouts three days a week before school. “I am amazed. I am surprised she has latched on to it as much as she has,” Watson’s dad, Steve, told KUSA. “I was just hoping she would get into a good workout habit. I never thought she would compete.”
Though it all started on a whim, Watson takes the sports very seriously and said she has come quite a long way since she started. “I remember once I lifted 125 pounds and I was blown away. But now it’s like, pfft, that’s light,” she said. Nowadays, the eight-grader dead lifts 176 pounds. “When I tell them how much I can lift,” Watson said, “most people say, ‘I’m not going to mess with you anymore.'”
Already the holder of 28 world, national, and state records, Watson’s next goal is the Olympics.