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    Airman to compete in international powerlifting championship

    Airman to compete in international powerlifting championship

    Photo By Master Sgt. Darnell Cannady | U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Elena Lopez, 480th ISR Group operations training manager,...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Darnell Cannady 

    480th ISR Wing

    As powerlifters from around the world gather for the International Powerlifting Federation World Championships in Limerick, Ireland, the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group will be closely watching as one of their own competes.

    Senior Airman Elena Lopez, 480th ISRG operations training manager, will be competing in the 123-pound weight class in October. Qualifying for Worlds is something Lopez never imagined herself doing when she started powerlifting.

    “I actually got started in powerlifting after I learned another Airman and close friend, Lindsey Burke, was competing in Crossfit,” said Lopez. “I wanted a sport of my own to compete in, and I looked up a few different ones, settling on powerlifting because it seemed simple enough. I looked up a coach and found the nearest gym, and started training for my first meet.”

    From there, Lopez set the Georgia state squat record for her weight class after lifting 250 pounds. Two weeks after setting that record, she competed at the United States Powerlifting Association National Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada, and credits the environment for encouraging her to succeed.

    “I enjoyed the feeling of community and people coming together to promote positivity,” added Lopez. “Not only is it one of the friendliest sports where it feels like everyone is cheering each other on and looking out for one another, but some friends went with me and watched me on the livestream which made me feel more confident.”

    Lopez raises the bar not only during powerlifting, but in the unit as well. Her coworkers are proud of seeing the hard work and dedicated she exhibits.

    “Power lifting has been an important part of who Lopez is, and it has been inspiring to watch her quietly work toward her goals, while maintaining a positive outlook and accomplishing her official duties,” said supervisor Staff Sgt. Susanna Watts. “The team is ecstatic and very supportive of her accomplishments. Lopez has a vibrant presence within the shop, and has always been very caring of those around her. Everyone is glad for a chance to focus on supporting her on this exciting journey.”

    In order to qualify for the International Powerlifting Federation World Championships, she endured six months of intense training until she was able to lift 638 pounds total in the squat, bench press and deadlift events for her weight class.

    “The training for powerlifting is a lot of ‘getting the work done’, even in moments you do not feel like it,” said Lopez. “I believe the discipline instilled by the Air Force has sharpened my work ethic for powerlifting. As for techniques, mentally you learn to focus on the task at hand (for both the Air Force and powerlifting), and give it 100 percent, which is synonymous with our core value of ‘Excellence in All We Do’.”

    As October approaches, Lopez stays focused on not only preparing herself for the championship, but ensuring missions are completed at the highest level.

    “The opportunity to be in the military and compete at this level at the same time, is something I will be eternally grateful for,” said Lopez. “I also want to thank my friends for all the positive support and feedback. The Air Force is truly a family, and I am honored every day to be a part of it.”



    Date Taken: 09.27.2019
    Date Posted: 10.02.2019 17:00
    Story ID: 345518
    Location: FORT GORDON, GA, US 

    Web Views: 142
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