In her late 50s, Hampton woman sets the bar at powerlifting competition


HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Lots of people wait until January to set resolutions and reboot their fitness routine. 

But in the middle of the holiday season, a woman from Hampton crushed her personal fitness goals and set the bar for what fitness can look like in the middle and later ages. 

“I’m 58 years old,” said Tracey Mitchell. “I’ve always done some type of exercise.” 

But in 2018, Mitchell decided to try out weightlifting at Better Bodies 757, a women’s-only gym.  

“As I kept coming, I kept getting strong and have more energy,” Mitchell said. “Then I kept noticing how other ladies in the gym were doing powerlifting and I said, ‘That looks pretty interesting, I wonder if I could do that.’” 

She could – and she surpassed expectations, according to gym owner Susan Ottey.  

“Tracey always shows up and puts in her full potential,” Ottey said. “She’s just a phenomenal athlete. I’ve loved seeing her grow.” 

In December, Mitchell competed at a local United States Powerlifting Association event. As the only person in her age and weight classes, she set records in bench press, squat and deadlift. 

“Powerlifting is very competitive because you always want to achieve the next weight, do the next lift, make it bigger and better,” Mitchell said. “I set the record. I could always try to beat that record, but right now it’s up there for anyone to beat.” 

If that sounds like a challenge, Ottey hopes other women take it on. 

“I really hope people see her and are inspired to go to a gym and pick up a weight,” Ottey said. “The confidence that comes with it, the function, the way it impacts your daily living, it’s just so impactful.” 

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