Denver woman in the running to become 2018 World Games Athlete of the Year

Local powerlifter could make history

DENVER, NC (WBTV) - A Denver woman is on her way to becoming a household name in a sport that’s becoming more popular in here in the U.S.

She’s a lean, mean, power lifting machine and Jennifer Thompson has the medals, trophies and plaques to prove it.

“If you would have told me this 20 years ago, I would have thought you were crazy,” said Thompson, who holds world records in the sport.

It’s obvious that her physique didn’t come overnight. Jennifer who spends her days teaching science nutrition at Lincoln Charter School says she started her athletic career as a runner.

“I ran long distance and I had no muscle at all,” Thompson admitted.

Thompson who is 132 lbs. of power, with a world record bench press of 320 lbs., has had a lot of praises come her way as she’s traveled across the world to compete.

“One of my favorite places was New Zealand. We’ve been to South Africa, Australia ... we’ve been to places I never thought I’d go like the Czech Republic and Luxembourg,” she said.

It hasn’t always been that way, Thompson like many other women who are power lifters faced some tough criticism when she first started in the 90’s.

“It was not acceptable to see a woman in a free weight gym. When I would wear a tank top, I would have people walk up to me and tell me I look masculine and that they didn’t like it,” said Thompson.

It’s a good thing she didn’t listen to the naysayers because now after all the handwork she’s put in, she has the chance to become the 2018 World Games Athlete of the Year.

“This is my career, and this is where that falls in my career, it’s would be amazing.”

If she’s chosen, she would be the first power lifter – man or woman - in history to receive such honor. Voting for the award ends at the end of the month. Right now she’s holding the first place spot, but could use some extra support to make sure she locks it down.

“The community that’s behind me right now is pretty darn awesome and I’m hoping Charlotte will be too. Hometown girl,” she said.

She believes this title will help to promote women in general as she believes representation matters.

“The more examples we get out there and when you think about the ideal woman ... more and more and more we’re seeing the athletic woman as being ideal and of all shapes and sizes,” said Thompson.

To vote for Jennifer Thompson click here

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