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PADECKY: Petaluma girls can carry their own weight — and then some

PETALUMA — They were young girls, there was no mistaking it. Their arms were young girl arms. Their legs were young girl legs. Their giggles were young girl giggles. The four of them Tuesday acted and spoke and blushed like young girls and you wanted to find out more, you had to find out more, once you learned they were weightlifters. National champion weightlifters.

"They just shatter the stereotype," said Freddie Myles, owner of a Petaluma weightlifting gym and coach of the Myles Ahead Weightlifting team.

That would be the weightlifting image of huge biceps that hang like boulders from shoulders — boulders that hang from male shoulders.

Oh, and by the way, how many weightlifters do you know who spray their coach with silver glitter? The girls did that after they won the Under-13 USA National Youth Team Championship in St. Joseph, Mo., the last week in June.

Like I said, and please do remember, these are young girls, a thought that from time to time may become impossible to imagine when words like "Olympic style weightlifting" and "clean and jerk" and "barbells" are uttered.

And there was this story told by Mia Zechowy, 11, about being in the fifth grade last year at Hidden Valley Elementary School in Santa Rosa.

"We had to do sit-ups in a physical education class and this boy did 50 of them and everyone was saying how awesome he was," Zechowy said.

"Then I did a hundred of them. I tried hard not to rub it in Brendan's face but I'm not sure if I did a good job of it."

In other words, testosterone is a joy to be shared and appreciated by all.

Zechowy was at the Myles Ahead workout facility along with Athena Schrijver, McKenzie Barnes and Chloe Tacata.


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