News: Air Guard spouse sets bar as national powerlifter
Story by Master Sgt. Michael Smith
MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - Competition brings out your best when you are a competitor, and for the spouse of one Air National Guard member it means lifting more weight than most men can grasp.
In her personal best powerlift competition, Vikki Traugot benched 325 pounds, deadlifted 408 pounds and squatted 480 pounds.
“My wife is currently the number three rated woman powerlifter for her weight class in the nation,” said Senior Master Sgt. Andrew Traugot, director of education here at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center.
Vikki Traugot lifts in the Southern Powerlifting Federation as well as for the U.S. Powerlifting Association. In her most recent professional meet she took first place overall in the women’s 148-pound weight class and walked away with $1,500.
“I like to be a little different,” said Traugot. “I like to see how far I can push my body, and it’s empowering to know that I could squat or bench what most guys probably couldn’t.”
The Traugots married 30 years ago after meeting at a military school to become Chinese linguists. Vikki was in the Army National Guard, and Andrew was in the Air Force.
Vikki crossed from the Army Guard after two years to join the regular Army for four more years before leaving the service. She started powerlifting during her husband’s first assignment here as an Air Guard professional military education instructor.
Powerlifting is a strength sport, and there are three main lifts: the squat, the bench press and the deadlift. Lifters get three chances during competition to lift their maximum weight.
As opposed to Olympic weightlifting, which includes lifts like the snatch, clean and jerk, or body building, which emphasis physique and size, Traugot said powerlifting is a sport where one puts overall strength first.
At 50, Traugot is encouraged and challenged after eight years’ of lifting by a promising field of younger women powerlifters.
“It’s refreshing to witness new females lift weight they never thought possible and also realize that lifting weights is healthy,” said Traugot, who is now sponsored by a popular health store in Knoxville, Tenn.
Traugot lifts four times a week at a gym that has special equipment and experienced powerlifters to spot and coach her.
She said she hopes to beat her personnel best at the USPA Olympia Invitational in Las Vegas this fall. She will participate in other competitions until then to gauge her progress.
The Traugots agreed that physical fitness is an important part of their successful relationship.
“It can be shared together, even as a supporting spectator,” said Andrew Traugot, who hopes to get back to his sport of choice (half marathons) this summer after an injury.
Until then, he said he will continue to support his wife and help her see that she’s done the training and is ready to lift the bar.
“I’ve very proud of her, and I want her to do what makes her happy,” said Traugot. “If she wanted to wrestle alligators, and it made her happy, I’d be happy for her.”