Melanie Roach ranks among the most popular women athletes from the Beijing 2008 Olympics.Her perfect hair, make-up, and stern look of concentration that turns in to a smile that radiates pure joy every time she lifts a massive bar of weights over her head, has captured the attention of many watchful eyes.If you look more closely you’ll find a woman of strength and power that extends from her excellent track record in women’s weightlifting to every aspect of her life.
Melanie isn’t new to the world of weightlifting; in fact, she was the oldest competitor in her weight class for the 2008 games, competing against women ranging in age from 19 to 27.However, her first Olympic dreams were to be a gymnast.After an injury and reconstructive surgery that restricted her abilities to compete as a gymnast, Melanie Roach skeptically took the suggestion of a gymnastics judge to take up weightlifting.Within three months of beginning, Melanie qualified for and took third in her weight class at the American Open Championships.1998 found her identified as the number one ranked female lifter in the United Sates after claiming a world record in the clean and jerk.Her Olympic dreams were now firmly centered on weightlifting in Sydney, 2000, but once again there would be a set back.Only three weeks before the trials Roach herniated her back and did not participate in the Olympics that year.
Roach decided to put her Olympic dreams aside to follow other dreams: mainly, to be a supportive wife and mother.Husband Dan Roach is a four-term state representative from Washington.He and Melanie have three children, one of whom is autistic.Because of this, Melanie is a proud member of “Athletes Against Autism”.Melanie and Dan Roach also own and operate Roach Gymnastic, Inc.
Melanie began her second Olympic crusade in the spring of 2005.She claimed her spot on the 2007 United States national team by lifting twice her own body weight for the first time since her injury.She also one the bronze medal at the 2007 Pan American Championships in Brazil.Melanie represented the United States in the #1 spot on the four woman weightlifting team in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
On August 10th, 2008 with shouts of “Go Mom!” coming from the stands, Melanie Roach took 6th place in her 53-kilogram weightlifting class at the 2008 Olympics.She achieved a cumulative Snatch (a lift over the head in one fluid motion) result of 83 kg (79, 81, 83) and a cumulative Clean & Jerk (a lift completed in two stages) result of 110 kg (105, 108, 110).Her overall total was 193 kg.For those of us who are mathematically impaired that’s approximately 133, 176, and 309 lbs, respectively.Not bad for a 5’1”, 117 pound, 33-year-old, LDS mother of three.
After the 2008 games, Melanie stated that is was time to hit the campaign trail with her husband, Dan Roach, once again.When she’s had some time to be a wife and mother again, she’ll decide what direction her athletic career should take.
Melanie’s other weightlifting accomplishments have included:
1998, named as the number one ranked female lifter in the United Sates after claiming a world record in the clean and jerk
13th Place at the 1999 World Championships
12th Place at the 2006 and 2007 World Championships
3rd Place at the 2007 Pan American Championships, Brazil
1st Place at the 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, and 2008 US Nationals
Melanie’s entire life has been about developing strength: physical, spiritual and in character.Melanie has been quoted in LDS Living as saying, “I try to enjoy the process and not worry so much about what may or may not happen, . . . If you’re busy worrying about the past or the future, you can’t enjoy what you’re doing right now. You’re missing it. . . This is a wonderful opportunity for me to not only represent the United States, but to be an ambassador for the Lord, as well as for autism awareness,” she says. “Whatever happens now, it’s not for me. I feel totally fulfilled by the process of getting to this point.”
Melanie is currently serving as a Sunday School teacher in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and maintains a web site at http://melanieroach.com.