Here are highlights from the article we ran
in the Spring 2000 issue about 16-year old Olympic hopeful Cheryl
Haworth. We can not print the actual article here because it was a
reprint form the USA Today. To see
the full feature (and more!), get a copy of this issue by purchasing one single copy or signing up for a subscription.
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|Cheryl Haworth: I
am really enjoying my life. I love weight lifting. It's something
that I knew I could do. I was always strong. I used to build tree
houses when I was little, carrying the wood and all. I was a lot
stronger than most people I knew, and very athletic. I played
softball on an all-girls' city team, and basketball on a team with
both girls and boys. When I started going to the gym for softball
training, I would walk by all the Olympic weight- lifting platforms.
It looked like fun. I asked my mom for permission and my dad talked
to the coach and I tried out for Olympic weight lifting. Michael
Cohen, the head coach, watched what I could do and signed me up to
be on the team. I started training five days a week, after school.
My body aches a lot. It's a good day when nothing hurts! I'm up to about three hours
a day, plus Saturdays. Sometimes I'd rather come home and sleep
instead of working out. I do allow myself some breaks. I have lots
of friends at school, and two sisters, and we do stuff on weekends,
like go to movies. I like training. I know what I have to do to get
better, and I like to work hard.
I get one $1000 a month from the U.S. Weight
Lifting Federation because I made the Super 2000 Squad, and I get
bonuses from the federation if I make certain totals at meets. They
pay for my competition travel expenses. The average weight lifter,
in a really, really good year, earns about $40,000. I just stick
everything in the bank, save it up.
When I'm at a competition, I have high
expectations of myself. Sometimes it's hard to stay focused. I keep
it as basic as I can. I stretch and I convince myself that I can do
it. You shouldn't worry too much about the way that you look. What's
more important is the way that you feel and how you act toward
others. Find out what you're good at, and concentrate on it. Give it
100 percent. Whatever it is, you can do it!
Haworth, Cherylís Mom: I made a choice with Cheryl as
she was growing up, a good choice, I think: I didn't make food an
issue. She's a good eater and she's just big. As a kid at birthday
parties, she always had just as much cake as any of her friends.
She's put together to be heavy; it's in her genes. She feels good
about herself. And people like her. They don't poke fun at her. Her
self-esteem is intact. People's egos are so delicate: we need to
take care that we don't make them self-conscious. It's important for
kids to have a role model like Cheryl. I love it when little girls
who are chubby themselves come in to practice. They look up at
Cheryl and just beam. They idolize her and think she's wonderful. If
she's doing okay in the world, then they will do okay, too.
Michael Cohen: Cheryl won three silver medals in Georgia
in July 1999 at the Junior World Weight Lifting Championship. She
was the highest-ranked lifter for the United States in that
competition. Three weeks later she represented the United States at
the Pan-American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, and won the gold medal,
breaking U.S. records. She is the youngest person from the United
States ever to win a gold medal at these games.
Three months later, in
November 1999, she competed in Athens, Greece, at the World
Championships, where she won the bronze medal, again, as the
highest-ranked person from the United States-in fact, the only
person from the United States to win a medal at the 1999 Senior
World Championships. In December she competed in the American
Championships in Tacoma, Washington, where she set more U.S.
records. The American Championships judges ranked her the number one
overall athlete in the United States, making her the youngest person
ever to hold the number-one ranking in our history. She's had a very
Since appearing in USA
Today (see Radiance cover story
this issue), Cheryl has been a guest on numerous television shows,
including Live with Regis and Kathy Lee, Jay Leno, and Today. She
has also been featured in Women's Sports and Fitness magazine with a
pictorial by Annie Leibowitz and has been honored by the Women's
Sports Foundation. I'm convinced that Cheryl will medal for us at
the 2000 Olympics in Sydney this September and October. Magazines
and newspapers call her a sixteen-year-old phenomenon. She makes me
look really good. She's very coachable. She's internally driven,
gifted with natural physical and mental ability.
and 290 pounds, Cheryl is at absolute peace with herself.
Contemporary society has just about destroyed the self-image of
young women. I coach women. I see my kids, at ages thirteen to
nineteen, at constant war with themselves. Their archenemies are the
mirror and the scale. Cheryl has no internal conflict. She's
content, she's happy, and she's focused. She knows what she wants to
do, which is totally unusual for a sixteen-year-old girl. On the
Tonight Show, Jay Leno asked her, "Do you mind if I ask you how
much you weigh?" Cheryl laughed, "Everyone knows how much
I weigh! About 290 pounds." She went on to tell him, '"I'm
solid as a rock. You wanna feel? We're not all gonna be supermodels.
We're not all gonna look like that. I don't want to look like that.
I'm happy the way I am."
Note: The complete list of Cheryl's accomplishments can be
found on-line at www.nbcolympics.com;
click on weight lifting.
Resources for Women of Size
From Radiance Spring 2000
In Fitness and
In Health is a
"life-style center" for women of size in New York, is
owned and operated by Rochelle Rice. Rice, a former professional
dancer, has a master's degree from New York University and
specializes in plus-size exercise. The center offers movement
classes of all types in a safe and nurturing environment. Contact
Rice at 212-689-4558, or join her on the web at www.infitnessinhealth.com,
where you can purchase her new basic video for women at all
fitness levels. And watch for her book, Real Fitness for Real
Women (Warner Books), due out at the end of 2000.
Yoga for Large
People is founded by
Mara Nesbitt (a supersize woman). This forty-five-minute video
gives gentle stretching and breathing instruction in the hatha
yoga tradition; the poses are adapted to suit large bodies. Cost,
$35 (includes s/h in U.S.). Send check or money order to Mara
Nesbitt, P.O. Box 19141, Portland, OR 97280, or order through www.webrox.net/yogavideo.
moretolovefitness.com is home of the New York-based "exercyber"
club for people of size. For $19.95 a quarter, you get interactive
scheduled fitness and motivational coaching sessions with founder
Linda Izzo and trainer Mike Looney. In addition, as a club member,
you receive their personal training video and e-newsletter. At the
site itself, find discussion groups, resources, and interviews
that encourage and support people of size. More to Love Fitness
instructor certification courses prepare individuals to offer
classes at their own location. For feel-good fitness, check out
their web site, or call 800-321-OKAY.
The Fitness with
Bliss video is like
having your own personal trainer on video, with follow-up phone
support. Kelly Bliss, M.Ed., is recognized by the National
Institutes of Health as a leader in plus-size and supersize
fitness. Life coaching phone sessions also available. Contact
Kelly in Pennsylvania at 610-394-2547, and check out www.KellyBliss.com for
additional services. Coming in 2001, a strength-training video
using barbells of varying weights.
Wellness Zone in San
Francisco, is the personal training alternative, offering general
fitness and athletic conditioning, bodywork, Pilates-based
exercise, and physical therapy to women and men of all ages,
sizes, and fitness levels. It is owned and operated by Jake
Tommerup, who has a master's degree in exercise physiology and is
certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as
a personal trainer and as a strength and conditioning specialist.
Contact her at 415-252-9940 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Substance Health Spa,
Redwood City, California, offers a safe, healthy, and fun fitness
facility for women of all body types, fitness levels, and sizes.
Low-impact water and floor aerobics classes and a variety of
workout equipment and personal training are available. The spa
provides child care, massage therapy, and resources for building
self-esteem, size appreciation, and women's health. Contact Dana,
Lisa, or Becky at 650-36-WOMAN (650-369-6626) or at email@example.com.
Studio, Los Gatos,
California, is a place for people of all ages, sizes, and fitness
levels to exercise. Owner Tami Anastasia has a master's degree in
counseling and merges the disciplines of exercise and counseling
in her wellness programs. She specializes in working with people
who'd like to establish regular exercise habits, develop a
healthier relationship with food, learn body acceptance, improve
self-esteem, and achieve a balanced life-style. Memberships,
personal training, combined counseling and exercise sessions; and
support groups are available. Contact her at 408-376-3837, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let us know about the movement tips and resources that you've
discovered. Write or e-mail us with your suggestions!
Enjoy more personal essays on lifting weights from Radiance readers by clicking here.
this is only a taste of what's inside the
printed version of the magazine!