"Inspirational": powerlifter Terri Brown becomes national champion at the age of 52

"Inspirational": powerlifter Terri Brown becomes national champion at the age of 52
Posted at 6:37 PM, Jun 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-21 19:37:06-04

BELLEVUE — Crossfit 920 in Bellevue has been pumping out elite powerlifters right and left, but for one of them, she had an unlikely journey to get where she is now.

“This is the place it’s just for me, it’s what I do and being able to let out your frustrations with the bar and to lift that heavy weight it’s so therapeutic,” said powerlifter Terri Brown. “That’s why I do it. I feel better everytime I leave the gym.”

Growing up 52-year-old Terri Brown was admittedly never an athlete.

“I was in remedial phy-ed in the 5th grade,” she said. “I had to come into school early and do push ups against the wall and situps and it was quite embarrassing. I was not an athlete at all.

13 years ago she was in a car accident, the other driver ran a stop sign, which left her with some significant injuries. 2 years later the doctor gave her this prognosis.

“I think that was the catalyst for the change in my life,” she said of the accident. “Just having the doctor say you’re on the path to being in a wheelchair when you’re 50, yea, that’s not happening.”

So she began to do crossfit, then with some nudging she began powerlifting.

“I saw some ladies lifting and then I said you can lift and not do burpees and I thought that would be a great thing to do,” she said.

Immediately after starting powerlifting about seven years ago she began competing.

“I love deadlifts,” Brown said. “If I could deadlift all day i would.”

Fast forward six years, last year she entered her first Arnold Classic Competition.

“That was a hard thing for me to kind of recognize to know you belong there and know you earned it and you’re lifting with all these ladies that are super strong and that’s where you should be,” said the powerlifter. “They motivate me to get me better and that’s what keeps me going.”

She didn’t win it, but this year she tried again.

“I was trying to go and start helping another lifter of ours and I stopped him and i’m like wait a second, I got to see this, we poked our heads through one of the doors to see her get her pro cards because that was a huge deal for her at the time,” said her trainer Matt Gunville. “She ended up getting it and it was just icing on the cake.”

In March, At the age of 52 she earned her pro card and Last weekend she won a national meet. 

“The younger me, looking at the older me would be like wow I can’t believe you did that,” she said.

Beating the competition is great, but she picks things up and sets them down to better herself each and every day.

“I think that’s the best part about this is that even if you have somebody coming in that lifts exorbitantly more than you, you’re still improving and your numbers are getting better,” she said. “That’s the best part about it.”

She’s an inspiration showing that it’s never too late to start an active lifestyle.

“Our younger lifters, they don’t realize it, but they see what they’re able to do and they say holy cow, this lady is 50 something years old and she can lift more than I can. So that’s inspirational,” Gunville said.

As for what’s next. Brown says she wants to squat, deadlift and bench press a total of 1,000 pounds, which she says isn’t too far away.