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Columbia woman, 61, wins powerlifting competition



Staff Member
Aug 11, 2010

Kate Walker of Columbia, is a powerlifter who recently placed first for her lifting weight and age at the World Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation World Powerlifting Championship in Ireland. Walker practices often at Optimus

COLUMBIA — Kate Walker began competitive powerlifting 3½ years ago. She is 61.
Last month, she represented the United States along with 12 other lifters in the World Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation Championships in Castleblaney, Ireland. Walker won gold in her age and weight groups.

Prior to competing, she used weightlifting to rehabilitate a knee that had been badly damaged by years of dancing. Her doctor recommended that she lift weights to help with her knees.

"He just meant as exercise, but I just loved it," Walker said.

She began to break state and national records, and holds a world record from the American Powerlifting Association.

In her age group (60-64),she qualifies in three lifts: the squat, bench press and dead lift. The total qualifier score for her age and weight group (70 kilograms, or 154 pounds) in all three lifts is 495 pounds, and Walker said she has lifted over 500 pounds.

In the dead lift, the qualifier for her age and weight group is 187 pounds. She reports lifting 245 pounds.

"I have always been goal-oriented," said Walker, who danced for more than 40 years until injuries caused her to quit.

When the doctor said no more dancing, "that broke my heart," she said.

She discovered powerlifting was a satisfying substitute.

"It helped me pick up where dance left off," she said.

Walker likes competition and says she trains hard — two challenging sessions and one light session each week. She works with Tom LaFontaine, the director at Optimus: The Center for Health. Her routines include pushups, bench presses, and back, leg and shoulder exercises.

"If you are a young athlete, like 19 or 20 years old, you might train more often. But with powerlifting, three times a week for the older lifter is plenty," she said.

Walker's coach gives her tough 50-minute workouts, and "I usually do stretches and other types of exercises on my own," she said. She has also been helped by Bill Duncan, a local powerlifter who attends many of the meets she does.

Traveling to competitions around the globe gives her a chance to find worthy opponents, "many of whom are younger," she said.

There are very few women who lift past age 50, and some of them are "great lifters" with world records.

"I plan to work hard to increase my lift totals, since I am a new lifter." Walker said.
"You know, there was an 80-year-old man at the competition from France who competed, and a 70-year-old-woman" with many world records, Walker said. "They did a great job and are incredibly inspiring to me."

When Walker first tried powerlifting, she said she was scared, but she decided to persevere.

"People were cheering me on because they said I was inspiring to them," she said. "I guess it's because of my age."

She likes showing others the excitement of achieving a goal and said it gives her a reason to pursue bigger goals.

"If that inspiration helps other people to meet their goals, then the job is well done," she said.

In June, Kate plans to lift at the World Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation single-lift competition in Michigan.


VIP Strength Advisor
Sep 15, 2010
congrats to her Just show everyone its never too late to benefit from a lifting routine


Senior Member
Oct 8, 2010
That is AWESOME!! Good for her and damn an 80 year old dude and 70 year old woman still powerlifting.........that is so cool to hear!!


TID Lady Member
Aug 14, 2011
Love seeing this kind of stuff...there is an older couple who go to my gym and they give each other hell, it's amazing!!! The lady is in her 60's and she can deadlift 150 lbs 10 times....very inspiring for anyone i think!


TID Board Of Directors
May 3, 2011
Not surprising at all. My mentor is 62 and didn't start lifting until he was 48. He pulls 450 for reps and does 100# weighted chins for reps. He's also the smartest person I've ever known re bodybuidling and always a natty.


TID Lady Member
Dec 18, 2011
That's AWESOME!!! Great role model and inspiration. Nice job Kate!


Jul 5, 2011
Love it and it goes to show that even though we are beating ourselves up there are serious benefits to lifting that in my opinion are life extending and have a marked improvement on quality of life! Plus this shit keeps most of us off the streets :D


TID Board Of Directors
Mar 6, 2011
It can be done if you stay healthy and train wisely. Curtis Leslie is 51yo and last year pulled 700lbsX3 raw and conventional. Tom a lifter at my gym is 58 (I believe) and I watched him squat 675lbsX1 in nothing more than wraps/belt this past weekend.

My point is don't think your world ends when you hit the ripe old age of 50+ b/c it doesn't have to.
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