Jenna Bussard, an Olympic hopeful who is one of the strongest women in the world, has pushed her talents to new levels since putting Team Hinesville on the map.
Team Hinesville is a weightlifting team composed of people whose ages range from 8 to 24 years, and their accolades are growing with every match.
In early June, Team Hinesville traveled to Savannah, and 13-year-old member T.J. Larkins lifted a combined total of 154 pounds that qualified him to enter into the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympics in late July, Bussard said.
At the last moment, teammate Israel Fleming also qualified and competed in the Junior Olympics since he was able to lift the adequate weight for the 11-year-old age group he’s in, Bussard said.
During the Olympics, Larkins lifted for third place by snatching 73 pounds, and cleaning and jerking 88 pounds, she said
Fleming’s performance was the highlight of the competition though as he won the gold for snatching 55 pounds and cleaning and jerking 77 pounds, Bussard said.
As the news was announced in front of the city council duringt this week’s meeting, Mayor Tom Ratcliffe formerly congratulated Team Hinesville and said he is planning to present Larkins and Fleming with honorary awards for their work.
With this success, Bussard is eager to continue her coaching career, and she hopes to gain more success for her team.
“I produced a national champion, and I told Israel and T.J. to be happy because they are currently the number one and number three weightlifters in the county for their age group,” Bussard said.
To help keep her team motivated and competitive, Bussard has been collecting local donations so they can compete in either Atlanta or Savannah at least once a month.
“We’ve been able to continue to compete and progress, and I’d like to take an opportunity to thank the Liberty County Health Department who has made major donations to the team to keep my team members in competitions,” she said.
Team Hinesville trains in the weightlifting center next to the Shuman Recreation Center at James Brown Park.
If anyone in the community would like to make a donation or to find out more information about Team Hinesville, call Bussard at (912) 429-0931.