NewsBooming Forward


Booming Forward: It’s never too late to start, 78-year-old weightlifting champ says

Posted at 9:24 PM, Aug 31, 2019

Three years ago, 78-year-old Shirley Webb decided to join a gym to help her with her stamina and bone strength. Little did she know at the time just how much it would change her life.

"When I first joined, I could not climb steps unless I held on with both hands and pulled myself up," she said.

Shirley quickly became addicted to the sport, traveling to competitions and picking up 17 medals. In just three years, the gold-winning, barbell slinging granny has hit the global scale, powerlifting her way into a world record.

"I'm a world champion right now. That's a nice title to have," she said.

She's set three nationals records, deadlifting more than 250 pounds, qualifying her for the World Championships in Sweden. There, Shirley deadlifted 265 pounds, beat competitors more than a decade younger than her and became a crowd favorite.

"I heard these people cheering me every time I went out on the stage to compete, and I thought, 'I wonder who they are, maybe from the U.S.?'" Shirley wondered. "They were from Iceland, rooting me on."

But her husband Dick is her biggest fan.

"My job — and I've been restricted to this at my own request — is to load the bar," Dick laughed, "so, I don't have to lift more than 45 pounds."

Shirley says she's far from done with weightlifting and intends to continue for as long as she's able. She hopes to be an inspiration to others.

"You're never too old to start. No matter how you feel, you can start real lightweight, very light and work yourself up to where you're feeling good. You've got to get that blood flowing!"