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Former Olympians look back with pride
Memories golden no matter the result
“My mentality when I retired was I wanted to not because I felt like I had no other option, but I wanted to actually make a decision on my own,” he said. “I think any athlete is always going to have that feeling that they could have done more than they did. It’s a natural human feeling, but you’re never going to fully reach everything you want, and I think that’s the way life is.”
Education and inspiration
A standout weight lifter from Southern California, Ms. Heads walked away from the 2000 games in Sydney without a medal but with renewed motivation.
“I just feel like I could have done things differently in terms of preparation,” Ms. Heads said. “It was the Olympics, but I was still learning. It was relatively early in my career. Going forward in my weight-lifting career, I took things from that experience to become a better weight lifter.”
In a sport that can call to mind images of bulging muscles, grimacing faces and grunting giants, the 34-year-old Ms. Heads is a breath of fresh air in a stuffy weight room.
Her shoulders are broad, her arms and legs well-toned, but her easy laugh and smile are what stand out.
About two years ago, Ms. Heads turned her passion for the sport into a job. She opened CH Fitness and Performance and moved to Crystal City to be with her then-fiance, who is now her husband and a power lifter himself.
The venture has two sides: One focuses on helping people to lose weight, while the other side hones an athlete’s skills and strengths.
“You can never stop learning, never think you know it all,” she said “That’s not a good place to be.”
Ms. Heads started weight lifting in high school with her older sister after the shot and discus coach suggested it for strength training. She and her sister entered a local lifting competition to see where they placed. They nabbed the top two spots.
“I was hooked,” Ms. Heads said, smiling. Not even old enough to vote, Ms. Heads traveled to Savannah, Ga., to prepare for the Junior World Weight Lifting Championships. She won a bronze medal as a junior competitor and took fourth place in the senior championship.
Until 2000, female weight lifting was not an Olympic sport. When it was announced the Sydney games would host, Ms. Heads turned her sights Down Under.
“It’s a really unique opportunity to be with fellow Olympians, to share in that experience,” Ms. Heads said. “It motivates you, too, because you’re thinking, ‘I’m here with the best in the world. That’s just such a great honor.’”
Though she tied her personal best in a lift called the snatch, she missed her personal best for another lift, called the clean and jerk.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Meredith Somers is a Metro reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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