The documentary Strong! by Julie Wyman is available for rent ($2.99SD/$3.99HD) and for purchase ($9.99SD/$12.99HD) in the iTunes store, but for a limited time is available for free viewing on the PBS website until Aug 26, 2012. Strong! chronicles the journey and the challenges of female heavyweight Olympic Weightlifter Cheryl Haworth as she struggles to defend her champion status as her lifetime weightlifting career inches towards its inevitable end. Cheryl Haworth is an Olympic weightlifter who has competed in three Olympic Games, winning the bronze medal in Sydney in 2000. She held the title of National Champion for 11 consecutive years. Weighing close to 300 pounds, Cheryl uses her size to her competitive advantage in a sport that has traditionally been the province of men. Strong! is the story of Cheryl’s weightlifting career, the rigors of training for competition, and her personal experience of being big in a culture that values women who are small. Wyman also explores popular notions of power, strength, beauty, and health in our culture and challenges common perceptions in the film.
Since the filming of Strong! Cheryl has retired from weightlifting, but if you’ve read about the female American lifters who competed at the 2012 Olympic Games, both ladies are in the same heavyweight class that Cheryl competed in. Take advantage of the PBS website while the offer stands (perhaps donating PBS what you can afford) and watch the 60 minute film that is sure to give you a new appreciation for what female weightlifters endure to achieve their success.
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