By Sonia Billadeau
With Mother’s Day this weekend, we express gratitude and appreciation towards the women who sacrificed so much for our well-beings.
Mothers can defy all odds (Just think of your own mom!), but one mom in particular is about to make U.S. history.
Melanie Roach, a mother of five, will be competing in the USA Weightlifting National Championships and U.S. Olympic Trials at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. With her attendance, Roach will be the oldest competitor and I would add- the coolest mom at the trials.
According to Deseret News, Roach's decision to compete in the trials was when the gym she co-owned received new weights and she felt a past desire resurface.
“I had officially retired (from weightlifting) after the 2008 Olympics,” said Roach, who competed in the U.S. 2008 Summer Games. “Two years ago, we started a weightlifting program [at] the gymnastics gym. When the weights arrived, I took them out of the box. I just felt compelled to lift the weights in that gym.”
As a busy mother of five and business owner, Roach's decision paved an unexpected journey from her home in Washington to Salt Lake City. Roach has already made history as she continues to hold the American record in the 53-kilo weight class for the clean and jerk in 1998 and 2008.
“This is very unexpected and I’m super excited. I can’t wait to become part of this historical event,” Roach said.
Roach never thought she would qualify for her third Olympic trials. Since she was in the top 15 of her weightlifting class in America, Roach said her partner Chelsea Herzog encouraged her to compete in the 2016 trials. Roach was satisfied working with the sport that took her to the Beijing Olympics at the gym, so she didn't see the reason to compete again.
According to Deseret News, it took Herzog a few months to convince her, but Roach gave in, entering the American Open in December 2014 to celebrate her 40th birthday. It was then Roach decided she wanted to push herself to see what was possible for a middle-aged mom.
Before Roach began training for the next two years, she said she had wondered if it was really worth it. She confided in her family and they told her to do it.
“They wanted me to go to the Olympic trials,” Roach said.
Roach's husband and children decided to give her as much time as she needed to train. Roach's mom stayed with the family for several nights to take care of the children, who range in age from 4 to 15.
Now, as she gets ready to compete this week, Roach said the level of talent is so high, she believes this will be the most competitive trials in history.
“The U.S. team will take three women, and one of those spots already belongs to Jenny Arthur,” according to Deseret News. “Sarah Robles is likely second.”
“That third spot is going to be a dog fight,” Roach said. “It’s going to come down to that last lift. I’m excited to watch that unfold. … I think that it’s awesome that in order to make the 2016 team, you have to be the best America has ever (had) in your weight class.”
Thanks to Melanie Roach and other amazing mothers who show us women can reach their goals and see their potential!