hirteen-year old, Kaiya Bryant, became the fourth female in history to medal at the International Weightlifting Federation’s Youth World Championships when she took home silver and bronze medals in Las Vegas on March 9, 2019. Kaiya’s performance was especially impressive because she was the youngest lifter in her session, and the Youth World Championships was her first international competition.
Kaiya, who trains with Coach Kerri Goodrich at Performance Initiatives in Savannah, Georgia, shares some insights into her life:
Q: When did you begin weightlifting?
I started when I was 9 years old.
Q: What brought you into the sport?
Coach Kerri was my brother’s gym coach at school. She asked my brother if he wanted to join her after school program and lift weights. My brother signed up, and I signed up along with him.
Q: What is your favorite part about training?
I like to hang out with my friends doing something I love. I also know that people look up to me, which motivates me to work hard and do my best.
Q: You recently won a silver medal in the C&J and a bronze in total at the YWC. Tell me about that experience.
During the competition, I was very nervous. It was my first international competition, and I was the youngest person in my session. I didn’t know how I would do. I thought I would just have a fun experience. I did not expect to take home any medals.
After my openers, I felt more confident. I realized that I was doing well in the competition and even had a chance to medal. Afterwards, I felt very proud of myself. I was able to bring home medals and represent the United States at the same time.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do outside of weightlifting?
I like to play basketball.
Q: What did you do to pick yourself up when you are discouraged in weightlifting?
Sometimes when I am not hitting the weights I want to hit in training, I just sit by myself and give myself a pep talk. I remind myself that I can always hit the weight another day.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received regarding weightlifting?
At Youth Worlds, I received a red light from the center referee for one of my lifts. I was not feeling great about it. One of the side referees came up to me after the session, though, and encouraged me. She told me that I was a great athlete with a big future and that she hoped to see me at the Olympic Games someday. That was very encouraging to me.
Q: What does Coach Kerri tell you to motivate you?
Coach Kerri tries to build my confidence by having little talks with me. Sometimes, though, when she knows I can do something but I don’t have the confidence, she will load my bar for me. She will tell me that I am lifting a lighter weight, but I’m actually lifting a heavier weight. I lift the weight, and then she tells me how much I lifted. It builds my confidence.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
I want to continue to work hard. I would also like to qualify for Junior Worlds in 2020 and someday become an Olympian.