Welcome back to this special series featuring the stories of the Senior Planet Sponsored Athletes as they pursue their fitness goals in 2021. You can find all of our Sponsored Athletes’ stories here. Apply here to become a 2022 Senior Planet Sponsored Athlete by November 30, 2021!
Abbey Moon, who turned 77 this week, is a survivor of domestic violence who turned trauma into triumph through her mastery of powerlifting. Get to know Abbey here, and read on for her recap of her participation in the IPF World Powerlifting Championships in Sweden earlier this fall.
This year’s International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) World Championships took place in Halmstad, Sweden from September 23 – October 3, 2021. I have been to several powerlifting meets, but this felt like being at a professional sporting event.
I was able to compete and lift with the best in the world.
The competition was extremely well-organized. Everything moved very quickly, and I was able to compete and lift with the best in the world. It was an amazing experience being surrounded by so many powerlifters — ages 16 to 76 — from so many countries. I was the oldest lifter in the competition.
I was in the Masters I-IV group, which consisted of participants from age 40 to 80. I did not perform as well as I had expected to do and was very disappointed that I placed second. But instead of dwelling on where I had placed, I tried very hard to turn it around and focus on being elated that I had been invited to my first IPF World Meet, participated, and that I now have a world record.
I really want to see more older adult lifters so we can show the world how amazingly strong we are as a group.
At the end of each competition, there was a ceremony for each age and weight category. The winning country had their national anthem played, and the people who placed were awarded medals by the president of IPF. It was both moving and emotional — a memory I will never forget. At the end of the Masters Competition, there was a wonderful banquet where people received more awards. I received a magnificent plaque which reads, “Second Place Best Lifter.” I will treasure it forever.
I was in awe of how many young people have taken up this sport and how strong they are. All I could think of was: “If they continue, there will be tons of age 70+ lifters!” I really want to see more older adult lifters so we can show the world how amazingly strong we are as a group.
Scenes from Scandinavia
Although my time in Sweden was mostly spent supporting my Virgin Islands Team members at the competition, we did travel into Gothenburg once, and we spent almost every day experiencing Halmstad. The people were very friendly and helpful, plus they were very proud of their country. Many of their needs such as universal healthcare, education, and childcare are taken care of, which may explain why people seemed happier and less stressed than Americans.
Women our age rode to the grocery store, and carried their food home in baskets attached to the handlebars.
I was very impressed with learning that when you need to move into assisted living, a placement is arranged, and you are not charged an entrance fee. Older people were all riding bikes. (Not the fancy 10-speed which is the norm in my hometown of Seattle, but the 3-gear type I rode as a kid.) Women our age rode to the grocery store, and carried their food home in baskets attached to the handlebars.
People appeared to be healthy, but again, my view of the country was just a snapshot. I would love to visit Sweden, Denmark, and Norway for a longer period in order to learn more about their healthcare for seniors and they type of athletic activities people participate in.
A moment of gratitude…
I have reflected on what an honor it has been to have been selected as a Senior Planet Sponsored Athlete and to get to know so many amazing people connected to this organization. The encouragement and support I have received has been overwhelming and I am extremely grateful. I have even been thinking of looking into some sort of trainer certificate program.
…the phrase “it takes a village” is so true.
I also want to thank the people in my life who have made my journey possible. Without their help, I would not be competing at the level I have reached. I want to thank:
Darrick, my coach and mentor for so many years, who believed in me;
Marek, my champion who inspired me to continue no matter how many lifts I miss;
Joan, my workout partner — she has been so supportive and encouraging plus so generous with her time and help;
Todd, who has become my recent powerlifting coach and has been encouraging and patient;
Danielle, my Virgin Islands coach who has such faith and belief in my abilities. I have become so much physically stronger, and she has become a valued friend.
Last of all, Kim Walford, the strongest powerlifter in the world, who is my role model and to whom I am very grateful for welcoming me to the Virgin Islands Lifting Team.
As I acknowledge all these people to whom I am so grateful, the phrase “it takes a village” is so true. Thanks to you, my journey has been possible, and you are all amazing.
(Above) My Senior Planet Sponsored Athlete presentation on weightlifting for seniors.
Next year up north…
The 2022 IPF World Meet will take place in Newfoundland, Canada, and I hope to qualify at nationals in St. Thomas in February. Newfoundland is supposed to be a beautiful place, and the competition will hopefully be well-attended due to COVID-19 rates becoming more manageable.
“Strength plus patience” is my new mantra.
I will keep training, and success seems more attainable since I know what to expect. The judges pay a great attention to form. My focus will not be on increasing weight, but on not missing any of the judges’ commands. “Strength plus patience” is my new mantra. My goal for next year is to be number one, and I believe I can achieve that!
Apply to become a 2022 Senior Planet Sponsored Athlete by November 30, 2021! In need of a little motivation to get moving? Join our daily health and wellness programs, stay tuned to the latest news and articles from SeniorPlanet.org by signing up for The Orbit weekly newsletter, and follow us on social media (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram) to get to know these awe-inspiring athletes. You might just find a new love for fitness along the way!
I would love to start powerlifting with Abbey! I am a former Bodypump instructor but stopped to do Tai Chi, I do miss lifting and would like to get back to it.
Congratulations, Abbey!! I was so proud to hear of your lifting at the AARP October webinar. I also hope more and more seniors, especially women, consider weight lifting. I think it is part of what’s needed in the aging journey to maintain quality of life. I’m looking forward to hearing of your future succeses, Colette