In the long run, it may seem incredibly ironic that gymnastics, a sport predicated on finesse and precision as much as strength, may have inadvertently given birth to one of the most promising powerlifting careers in the nation. Then again, when the lifter in question is only 8 years old, an age when anything is possible, little can serve as a true surprise.
That's certainly the case with Reagan Lombardo, a Seattle-area 8-year-old who suddenly finds herself getting attention for her powerlifting exploits. As reported by Seattle network KING 5, the Ravensdale, Wash., third-grader set a state record for the top squat in Washington state's lowest weight bracket by lifting 123 pounds. That's more than her body weight, and nine pounds better than the previous record, which was set by a 12-year-old who weighed 40 pounds more than Lombardo.
Clearly, if Lombardo decides she wants to, the mighty mite could have a bright future in powerlifting.
Of course, to do that she may have to abandon her first love, which is why she first became involved in powerlifting in the first place. As Lombardo progressed from simple tumbling routines to more advanced gymnastic endeavors, her parents noticed that she was struggling to run. A light powerlifting routine was suggested as a way to improve her lower body strength and running.
The next thing anyone can remember, Lombardo was developing a full-fledged obsession with powerlifting, begging her parents to take her to practice dead lifts and squats after she got home from gymnastics practice.
For her part, Lombardo's reasons for her growing obsession with powerlifting are simple.
"It's fun," the 8-year-old told KING 5. "And I'm good at it." When asked if anyone was better than her, she quickly responded in the negative.
That kind of confidence and her natural talent could take her far, though she and her family will likely face some serious questions about whether such serious powerlifting is actually good for her health. Because young bodies develop so quickly, spending so much time lifting serious amounts of weight could bring on unforeseen problems or injuries, particularly if Lombardo strains to lift weights that are beyond her true threshold.
The Lombardos seem confident that won't happen. Besides, with their daughter's budding passion for the sport, it may be hard to hold her back, even though powerlifting is a completely new concept to her mother and father as much as it is her.
"When they come out, you don't know what you're going to get. Could be a ballerina, could be an actor. You have no idea. If you would have told me at that time she was going to enter a powerlifting meet, I wouldn't have known what it was!" Tim Lombardo told KING 5.