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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Gold medallist Maude Charron hopes to inspire new generation of female weightlifters

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TORONTO — Team Canada’s weightlifting gold medallist Maude Charron says she hopes her victory at the Tokyo Olympics inspires other young women to take up the sport.

The 28-year-old from Rimouski, Que. told CTV News Channel on Sunday that the dominating performance from Canadian female athletes at the Summer Games shows that women can meet and surpass the athletic level of their male counterparts.

“People often say to us, ‘You’re too slow, you’re too weak, you throw like a girl, you lift like a girl’,” Charron said. “Yeah, we do it like a girl and we win medals, so I think in some way it’s working.”

Charron clinched Canada’s second gold medal of the Tokyo Games in late July in the 64-kilogram division of women’s weightlifting, lifting a combined total of 236 kg to secure her win.

It is Team Canada’s first medal in the sport since the 2012 London Olympics, where trailblazer Christine Girard was originally awarded a bronze. Years later, Girard’s medal was upgraded to gold after the London first- and second-place winners were eventually stripped of their medals for doping infractions.

Charron said she hopes she can inspire the next generation of young athletes to take up weightlifting like how Girard inspired her.

“Showing to people that staying in your hometown, even if it’s not a big city, that you can achieve your goal and you can become an Olympian, I wanted in that way to prove it to myself … and I think that I succeed there,” Charron said.

Charron, who has been back in Quebec for the past week, spending time celebrating her achievement with family and friends, says her win has led to her being recognized at local shops around town.

“Everyone in the town congratulated me, and I’m recognized at the grocery stores. People are just welcoming me and congratulating me, so it means a lot. I’m so proud,” Charron said.

Charron said her success came without having a gym to train at due to COVID-19, instead having to practice in her dad’s garage for the past year.

The Olympian has another two weeks off before she gets back to work finishing her education to become a police officer and training for the Commonwealth Games next year.

“I have to secure my spot to be a qualified athlete there. So right now some weeks off, and then we’ll find that come back at the Commonwealth Games,” Charron said.

However, there is no guarantee that Charron will see another Olympic Games.

The International Olympic Committee has threatened to drop weightlifting from Paris 2024 if the International Weightlifting Federation does not improve anti-doping efforts.

Charron said she is trying not to dwell on that fact that her sport may get cut from the Games, and instead, focus on the aspects of her life that she can control.

“We’re paying as athletes and that sucks, and it doesn’t change that tomorrow I have to go and train for the next World Championship. I’m just hoping that they will find a way to let athletes compete,” Charron said.

“I have to control what I control which is my life, my training, and just go with the flow,” she added.

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