Rory Van Ulft started training just after her fifth birthday. At seven years old, the Ottawa native was crowned USA weightlifting under-11 and under-13 Youth National Champion in the 30kg weight category. Fast forward one year, the eight-year-old girl is fighting a battle with a 90kg deadlift!
In a recent video posted on her Instagram account, Rory can be seen attempting a 90kg lift. The remarkable lift was nearly 3.1 times her bodyweight (~29kg), which makes the accomplishment all the more impressive. In doing so, Rory outdid her previous best record by a massive 10kg.
“Long time coming. 💪 90-kg (198-lb) pull by 8-year-old #weightlifter and #gymnast @roryvanulft—3.1x body weight,” the caption reads.
In a remarkable feat of achievement, Rory Van Ulft became the USA Weightlifting National Youth champion two years after starting to train. Training nine hours per week, the Ottawa native dedicates four hours to lifting and five hours to strength training. She remains the youngest ever USA weightlifting Youth National Champion in history.
Apart from lifting 90kg deadlift, Rory Van Ulft is capable of 32kg snatch and 42kg clean and jerk. As if it was not enough, the ‘world’s strongest little girl’ can squat 61kg as well!
The question ‘How much would an athlete weighing X could lift if he/she weighed Y and had the same ability?’ has haunted everyone for a long time. The International Weightlifting Federation uses the Sinclair coefficient which answers the question and helps determine the pound-for-pound strongest lifters. With a Sinclair total of 213.738, Rory Van Ulft is the USA’s pound-for-pound best lifter for age 11 and under.
While Olympic gold seems to be an ideal and realistic thing to pursue in the future given what she has already achieved, the standard 3 school student currently has no such ambition.
“That sort of thing doesn’t really matter to me,” Rory says.
Rory Van Ulft’s powerlifting records are astonishing, to say the least. However, gymnastics, not powerlifting, is her first preference. Rory trains gymnastics for nine hours a week as opposed to four she spends training powerlifting. Rory won her first gymnastics medal in a local competition a while back. After which, she explained to her parents that she likes to do gymnastics because it does not involve lifting things over her head.
Rory is the current US Youth National Weightlifting champion at 30kgs in the 13 and Under Division and scores titles in 2020 and 2021.
US Youth National Championships 2020 (In 30kg, 13 & Under Weight Category)
*Rory van Ulft was seven years old at the time of this event
-28kgs (61.7 lbs)
-30kgs (66.1 lbs)
-32kgs (70.6 lbs)
Clean & Jerk
-38kgs (83.8 lbs)
-40kgs (88.2 lbs)
-42kgs (92.6 lbs)
Total: 72kgs (158.7 lbs)
US Youth National Championships 2021 (In 30kg, 13 & Under Weight Category)
*Rory was eight years old at the time of this event
-33 kilograms (72.8 lbs)
-35 kilograms (77.2 lbs)
-36 kilograms (79.4 lbs)
Clean & Jerk
-43kgs (94.8 lbs)
-45kgs (99.2 lbs)
-47kgs (103.6 lbs)
Total: 82kgs (180.8 lbs)
Rory’s parents, Cavan and Lindsay maintain that their daughter’s safety is their utmost priority. Looking at the significant progress Rory Van Ulft has made in powerlifting and gymnastics, one has to believe that her parents have left no stones unturned to keep their daughter safe from the hazards of her unusual hobbies.
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