Why Women's Weight Lifting is Taking Off | Features | MN2s talent

It’s Time to Make Way for Women within the Olympic Sport

Over recent decades, the world of competitive sport has progressively become easier for women to access, with superheroes like Venus and Serena Williams, Paula Radcliffe and others leading the way. Since 2007, female competitors at Wimbledon have been awarded equal prize money to their male counterparts, and women’s football is becoming big business outside its traditional heartland of the USA.

Things still aren’t on a completely level footing, however, and some sports which have traditionally been seen as more masculine and still tricky for women to get their break in. One of these sports is weightlifting, conventionally the most masculine of sports – but things are slowly changing there, too.

Introducing: Zoe Smith

Originally training as a gymnast, Zoe Smith first found herself in the world of competitive weightlifting at the age of 12, when the borough that she was living in needed a weightlifting squad to send to the London Youth Games. Her switch to weightlifting was clearly a smart one, as she’s since smashed more than 350 records in the sport, represented Great Britain at the home games in 2012 and was dubbed Britain’s strongest schoolgirl by some newspapers.

She says that being feminine as well as sporty has always been important to her: I’ve had quite a lot of people genuinely surprised that I look like a girl a which I find a bit ludicrous, really, because weightlifting is just a sport. Obviously some people abuse their bodies and take drugs but it’s just the same as any sport. We are just normal girls, but naturally stronger than other people.

Smith set a British record with her performance at the 2012 Olympic Games, and in 2014 she went one better and won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games – and she’s one of a wave of young, female weightlifters who aren’t letting stereotypes stand in their way.

zoe smith olympics 2012

One of the reasons for the growth in popularity could be the greater understanding of the effects of exercise which most people have now. Where once, it was widely believed that doing any type of weight training would lead to an unattractively muscular physique, more women now understand the benefit of weight training in a normal exercise routine.

Dr Claire Marie Roberts, lecturer in sports psychology says: Previously it was thought only aerobic exercise could deliver positive mood benefits, but we now know that resistance and weight training can have the same or better effect on the brain by increasing the production of serotonin, the brain hormone that makes us feel good.

Now that the benefits of weight training are becoming more widely known, is it perhaps true that more women are getting into weightlifting, and the stigma around the sport is lessening?

Sporting speakers for hire

Olympian and athlete Zoe Smith is an incredibly motivated young woman, and she’s the perfect celebrity speaker for an audience with an interest in motivation and sports more generally. If you’d like to find out more about booking Britain’s strongest schoolgirl, get in touch with MN2S talent agents UK to find out more.

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The Road to Rewriting history in the Rio Olympics
Celebrity speaker in focus: Amber Hill

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