Win or lose, weightlifting helps 13-year-old powerlifter Taylor Gunville 'feel like a champion'

Win or lose, weightlifting helps 13-year-old powerlifter Taylor Gunville 'feel like a champion'
Posted at 2:45 PM, May 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-21 15:46:11-04

BELLEVUE — Over at Crossfit 920 in Bellevue, you’ll find powerlifter Taylor Gunville picking up and slamming down some weights.

The young powerlifter from Pulaski Middle School is only 13, but has been powerlifting since she was nine and in the last three years, she’s taken home one second place and two first place finishes at nationals.

“I grew up in a gym, it’s just my home, you know,” Taylor said. “When you pick up the bar, it’s like all the weight, all the emotions go on the bar and when you drop it, it’s all out. Just my thing. Helps me get my anger out. It’s just something I like and it shows the real me.”

Crossfit 920 is owned by her father Matt Gunville, who also competes.

“I think it’s really important, especially for a young girl to realize that they are strong – not to have to go with that old stigma, you shouldn’t do this or you can’t do this, because they can do it and they do it quite well,” he said.

The two have bonded over their love for powerlifting and it has taken them all over the country.

“I crawled in a gym when I was a baby and I always saw my dad do cool stuff, so I was like, why don’t I try it, and then I did,” said Taylor.

As Matt admits, he gets pretty riled up cheering is daughter on when Taylor is out at center stage during her competitions.

“When she goes out there and gives it her all, that's all that matters to me,” Matt said. “That she learns about failure, she learns about getting back up from failure and working harder to be successful. That's the key thing for us.”

The sport hasn’t just taught her about failure, it also has given her a lot of self confidence.

“When I was younger I went through my chunky stage – like a bad stage, and then I found powerlifting and it built my confidence,” Taylor said. “I love my body more. I just love the way I look – I still don’t but I love how I am, better than I used to love myself.”

Lifting a lot of weight is great, but weightlifting translates to other sports as well.

“It helps with everything like gymnastics. It helped me accomplish a lot,” said Taylor. “Softball, it helps me throw the ball farther, helps hit the ball with the bat farther – just comes easier to me.”

The big thing for Taylor and her dad is to never try and overdue it by putting too much weight on the bar.

“The big thing we try to do is just remind ourselves that you’re competing with yourself ultimately,” Matt said “Meaning, we give her a goal, she’s got her own personal goals and we try to shoot for that. If it’s good enough to win, it’s good enough to win. If it isn’t, we’re not going to push the envelope. We’re not out to hurt ourselves or do anything crazy, especially at 12 or 13 years old.”

Another thing Taylor loves is not just breaking records, but showing the boys her age and everyone for that matter what she’s made of.

“What if they're making fun of you. What if they think you’re weird and like boys, they think like it’s only for them. I don't know, I just felt like a champion.”

Taylor is headed back to nationals in early June down in Las Vegas where she and her dad will both be competing.