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Elmira woman brings home the gold

Rather than some mouse ears, Elmira’s Emily zur Linden returned from Orlando with a large, golden trophy to add to her display case, the result of her win at the 18th annual North American Regional Powerlifting Championships on August 19.

She won gold for her weight class and brought home a trophy for best overall female lifter at the event, an award she was thrilled to receive.

“This year, the day before the application period closed I put my name in – I was like ‘OK, let’s see if they consider me good enough to be part of Team Canada to go compete internationally for them.’ So I put my name in, and a couple days later they’re like, ‘Yeah, sure you’re on the team.’  So I head down there and not only do I win my weight class, but I also scored a heavy-enough total compared to my bodyweight that I out-lifted every other female, so I won best lifter of the meet, a huge accomplishment,” she explained.

“Winning your weight class, everyone has an equal chance of doing that, but then to be put up against everyone else in every weight class against each other, I ended up taking home the best lifter award. I am really excited – anything over 100 is considered elite, and I totaled 101.45, so it’s like I won the gold.  I was the best lifter,  and I am officially an elite power lifter, based on the weight I can lift. We’re just kind of over the moon about this because it’s been a long time, a lot of hours of training,” said zur Linden.

When not lifting multiples of her own weight, zur Linden is a veterinarian at Metzger Veterinary Services in Linwood.

Linden and her husband, Alex, renovated their garage into a home gym right before the pandemic hit, giving them both ample space to work out. Their home gym is a little more professional than most, with the addition of a climbing rope that reaches the ceiling, wooden boards along the wall to prevent weights from damaging it and a whiteboard that keeps track of their training regiments. The colours of the weights represent their difficulty,  red weights are the heaviest, she explained as she lifted several red, blue and green weights with ease as she spoke.

“I only lift three days a week because of my work schedule and I want to have time for family and be on bedtime duty – be a mom and a wife also. I’m down to three days a week for lifting, but they’re about three- to four-hour sessions, and it’s usually after my daughter goes to bed: 8 to 11:30 at night, I’m in the garage, lifting.”

Emily has been powerlifting since 2017, after a long run of competing in other sports such as gymnastics and CrossFit.

“Growing up, I competed in gymnastics for about 20 years, so I have a long athletic background. After deciding I was done with CrossFit –I was kind of burnt out – I just wanted to get stronger and see how that goes,” she said of the decision to “dabble” in powerlifting.

“I’ve never looked back. It’s been pretty great.”

The experience is something that others should experience, too, she added.

“As soon as I competed my first time, the strength community was just so incredibly supportive and happy to have somebody new. Everybody wants to see you succeed, and it was that supportive environment that really stuck out to me. I want anybody else who’s coming into something like strength sports, like powerlifting or weightlifting, to feel that level of inclusivity and welcome that I did.”

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