Gift of lift: Virginia Beach is home to national champion powerlifter

Powerlifter Sam Calhoun
Posted at 11:15 PM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 14:52:04-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - At the conclusion of her college track & field career at the University of Nevada, Sam Calhoun's personal fitness goals were simple. Here's the 'skinny' on priority number one:

"One of my main goals when I graduated was to be fit," Calhoun admitted. "Actually, it was to not get fat - that was the goal. It was operation don't get fat."

Turns out, she just could not keep the weight off.

Calhoun, who earned her M.S. in Exercise Science from Old Dominion University following a to the area in 2012, works as a coach at The Iron Asylum in Virginia Beach. After picking up the sport just five years ago, Calhoun is currently the two-time reigning USA Powerlifting national champion. Additionally, in 2018, she broke the world record for a deadlift: 489 pounds - a mark she still holds for her weight class.

"It just showed me that anything is possible, as cliche as it sounds," Calhoun said during an interview with News 3 Sports Director Adam Winkler. "But we just have to find what that is for us."

According to Sam, anything is possible - for any shape and any size. Calhoun, who is 5' 3" and 135 pounds, set her world record by deadlifting more than three-and-a-half times her body weight.

"I want to show all women they can do this," Sam said of her massive accomplishments despite a small frame. "They can be strong, they can be healthy, they can be fit - and they don't have to look like a certain body type. "If you look at powerlifting, there's a wide range of body types. People see me and look me up and down, like where's the rest of you? That's it?"

Well, Sam did have that goal of staying small. It just does not apply to her status in the world of powerlifting.

UPDATE (June 23, 2021): Sam is now a three-time USA Powerlifting national champion after capturing another national title in the 63 kg division