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World ranked weightlifter teaching area youth
Jenna Bussard strains to make a lift during a national meet earlier this month. - photo by Photo by Chris McGinnis
It’s easy to see why Jenna Bussard is one of the strongest women in the world.
In 2001 at the age of 14, the Savannah resident unearthed her super human ability by breaking world records as she benched 300 lbs., and dead lifted and squatted 600 lbs. With a few swings of a hefty metal bar, this young phenom attained national and global recognition overnight.
She’s now working part-time with Liberty County Recreation Department trying to develop similar abilities in area youth.
Following the advice of her coaches in 2002, she converted from power to Olympic lifting, made it onto her first international team and won first place in a Canadian competition.
In 2004, she made Junior World Team USA and flew overseas to Belarus, and placed seventh out of 30 girls from countries that included Korea, Japan, China and Russia.
“When I get up there, it is no longer the everyday sport that I practice nearly seven days a week,” Bussard said. “My adrenaline hits me, and it becomes a true test of my strength on the national and international stage.”
In 2006, Bussard’s efforts culminated in the number-one ranking on the junior team (under 21-years-old), and as she ranked 12th amongst the seniors (21 and older). Worldwide, she’s ranked the 30th strongest woman.
By 2012, the female-colossus is expected to make the Olympic team, with hope she could bring a gold medal back for Team Savannah who she currently competes with for national competitions.
“I would love to win the gold, and I would not want it for the fame,” she said. “I just simply want it for the recognition, and to know that I earned the reward through years of hard work.”
In the meantime, Bussard trains children, teenagers and adults at the weightlifting center in James Brown Park in Hinesville.
Since weightlifting is not a lucrative sport, participants pay their own expenses so Bussard is always eager to accept donations to help further Team Savannah. If you would like to make a donation, call her at 429-0931.
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