As we age, our bodies weaken and become increasingly frail. Generally speaking, you don’t see many senior citizens participating in sporting events or taking on strength-based challenges.
Yet even among non-seniors, these athletics are largely dominated by men. In past generations, sports were seen as “men only” territory and only now has that started to change.
To be both elderly and female in the field of athletics is almost unheard of! Yet a woman named Edith Traina is subverting expectations. This is her story.
When Edith Traina’s friend dragged her to a gym, it ignited a passion for powerlifting.
97-year-old Edith Traina is many things: a grandmother, a Floridian, a performer. Yet it was only fairly recently that she ignited a new passion: weightlifting.
“I have a friend, Carmen, who is the lady who dragged me kicking and screaming all the way to the gym,” Traina told Bay News 9.
Ever since then, Traina has gone to the gym to lift weights three times per week. It’s how she stays both healthy and occupied.
“If I find I’m sitting in a chair for a whole day, and not doing anything constructive, the next day I light a fire under my tush and get out of the house,” she said.
She’s kept this up for the past 4 years and has continued to grow stronger. In 2013, she deadlifted 115 pounds. In 2014, she increased to 140. According to Independent.co.uk, she plans to lift 200 pounds by her 100th birthday.
“When I lift that bar up, as I’m lifting it up in here I hear words like ‘oh my God I’m doing it’,” Traina told Bay News.
Traina has competed many times and even has a competition named after her.
Traina now competes in 6 competitions per year. Most recently she won 2 gold medals at the Polk County Senior Games in the 95-99 division with a 60lb (27kg) bench press and a 130lb (59kg) deadlift.
Traina has become so prolific in the Florida weightlifting community she has a competition named after her. On March 31, 2018, the Edith Traina Inspirational Open took place.
Participants ranged in age from 13 to, well, Traina’s age! Traina was the only person in her age category, so she had no direct competition. Still, she’s hoping that this won’t continue to be the case for future competitions.
“I can’t find any other 90-year-olds to compete with. So, if you know anybody that has a grandmother or friend who would like to compete with me, [let me know],” she said.
Having people her age to compete against would certainly help motivate Traina to reach her 200-pound goal. Yet Traina seems dedicated to improving regardless. In other words, Edith Traina will keep on training!