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BOUNTIFUL — Brittany Riesenberg brought home a gold medal from her first international weightlifting competition.
She returned to the U.S. Wednesday from a trip to the 2014 World Masters Weightlifting Championships in Denmark, where she took first place and the title of world champion. The meet was held Sept. 1.
“It’s a huge effort from family, friends and coaches to be able to go and do something like this,” she said. “Being a mom, it throws an extra wrench in it.”
Riesenberg competed without much sleep. She arrived in Denmark the day before the competition with her husband and parents, and wasn't able to sleep on the plane. That night, she said she was so nervous about the competition the next day that she couldn’t sleep again.
“I showed up and I just had to put that out of my mind and pretend like I was rested,” she said. “I just thought, ‘I’ve trained for this for so long. I’m not going to let this ruin this moment.”
She made two attempts at the world record for the snatch, but missed taking it on small technicalities. Riesenberg’s coach instructed her to instead focus on winning the gold, so she opened low on her clean and jerk and then strategized by lifting more than her biggest competitor each time.
Riesenberg came out on top, with 69 kilos for her snatch and 87 kilos for her clean and jerk. She received a gold medal and the national anthem was played in her honor.
Her win helped the USA Masters Women’s team take first place over Germany by one point. More than 600 weightlifters 35 years or older competed in the event, according to the event website.
“One thing that is interesting about this sport and other sports is so much of it is mental,” she said. “You have to be mentally prepared to take on that kind of pressure.
“I kind of had a lot of disadvantages. My biggest competition was from Denmark, so she had lots of fans and she didn’t have to travel. So I had all those disadvantages and was still able to pull through that, (which) was cool.”
After the meet, Riesenberg took time to see the sights with her family. They drove more than 4,000 miles through the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Germany, before returning to Denmark.
“We hadn’t been before, so we pretty much saw everything we could see,” she said.
She said she hopes to be ready to compete at the American Open in December, but that she isn’t putting any pressure on herself. She has, however, already been back to the gym.