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US Olympic team weightlifter breaks stereotypes

She is a 4-foot-11, competitive former cheerleader who started lifting 195 pounds at the age of 16.

SUWANEE, Georgia – First-time Olympic weightlifter Jourdan Delacruz doesn’t buy into weightlifting stereotypes: She’s a 4-foot-11 former competitive cheerleader who started lifting 195 pounds at the age of 16 years old.

Despite her petite stature, she is a force to be reckoned with at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She discovered weightlifting in the summer of 2014, qualified for the World Youth Weightlifting Championships and asked to go to an Olympic training center within 18 months.

“It’s cool that there are more people with a smaller body weight going into sports and pushing the stereotype that you have to be fat to be strong,” Delacruz said.

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Her parents were still crouched and lifted off the ground in the garage. So while weightlifting was alien to his body, his eyes were familiar with the sport.

“I have this photo of baby that I’m in a diaper, but I’m in perfect deep squat technique, so I really felt like I was meant to be weightlifting,” Delacruz said. .

Delacruz was a competitive cheerleader who was looking to try CrossFit in her offseason to build her strength, and since then that’s all she’s done. Delacruz said she believes weightlifting is more of a mental state of mind than a physical one.

“Sometimes your body can do a lot more than you realize,” she said.

The 23-year-old has moved from Texas to Suwanee, Georgia to train for Power & Grace Performance and hopes to clinch a gold medal in her first Olympics.

“Obviously I want to do my best – I want to put everything on display,” she said. “Getting a gold medal would be amazing, but I want to be able to remember everything at the Olympics, to be overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for the whole experience.”

While she might not be enjoying the traditional Olympic experience, Delacruz is thrilled the games are going.

She will represent Team USA in the 49 kilo category in competition this Saturday, July 24th.

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