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‘Sharing this win with everybody,’ Tamara Walcott sets powerlifting record with 639-pound deadlift

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7:28 PM ET

  • Maya A Jones

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      Maya A. Jones is a writer and reporter. She joined ESPN in 2012 as a part-time researcher before moving on to cover a variety of topics within the NFL, NBA and NASCAR. She is a proud New Orleanian and HBCU graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana.

MANASSAS, Va. — Tamara Walcott set a World Raw Powerlifting Federation record — breaking her old one — with a deadlift world record of 639 pounds at the American Pro powerlifting competition Saturday.

Walcott was met with a standing ovation at The Salisbury Center, where the two-day competition concluded. Her latest achievement comes nine months after she set her first deadlift world record, at 636 pounds.

On the second day of competition, Walcott moved through the squat and bench press categories before focusing on her heaviest attempts of the day in the deadlift. She began her first deadlift attempt with 275 kilograms (606 pounds) and received approval from all three judges before heading into a heavier second attempt of 290 kilograms (639 pounds).

A successful second attempt resulted in a personal best and apparent world record. But the cheers and screams from supporters were cut short after learning Walcott had not cleared her second attempt.

“I didn’t feel defeated because I know I had it in me,” Walcott told ESPN. “As soon as I found out what needed to be corrected, I was able to regroup. I knew what I needed to fix.”

Walcott made the necessary adjustments before her third and final attempt at the same weight. This time, roars from the crowd were louder and stronger after Walcott had passed the attempt and officially set the record. An emotional Walcott hugged friends, family members and fellow competitors who applauded her latest achievement.

“I feel good,” Walcott said. “At the end of the day, this is so much bigger than myself. Powerlifting is new to me. A lot of people I have been standing in this room with have been lifting all their lives. I just started four years ago. To come into a sport where people have been training for so many years and to be at the top, I don’t think I’m there by luck.I think I’m there by faith because this is so much bigger than me, and I I’m sharing this win with everybody.”

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