Powerlifting legend Jennifer Thompson (USA) received more than 152,000 votes in The World Games Athlete of the Year 2018 race. This is 60,000 votes more than the winner of last year’s race! Thompson finished the vote as the first runner-up, after the Acrobatic Gymnastics couple Marina Chernova & Georgii Pataraia succeeded in attracting 159,348 votes.
How is this kind of increase in the votes even possible? The reason behind the number of votes can be summed up in one phrase: community spirit.
“First, I would like to thank the amazing powerlifting community for the support they have shown me during the Athlete of the Year contest,” says Jennifer Thompson “Of course I cannot be more thankful to my federations, International Powerlifting and USA Powerlifting, for the nomination and support given to me throughout this process. Not to mention my sponsors, LVD Fitness, SBD-USA and SSP Nutriton, and the support and promotion given to me by my family, friends, work colleagues, and the local community.”
Powerlifting has often been close to or at the top in the Athlete of the Year race due to the huge promotion and support given by the international federation. But Jennifer Thompson found support in some surprising places as well: “I am most touched by the number of people I did not know who became my biggest promoters. I always knew that the Powerlifting community was very special, it is what has kept me in the sport for so long. What I didn't realise was how amazingly supportive the strength sport community really is. I’ve heard stories of gyms having their members vote as they checked in, and others gathering donations to make paid Facebook ads.”
Besides being a super-successful powerlifter – Thompson has broken the world record 68 times – she also works as a High School Nutrition and PE Teacher. “I received e-mails from teachers across the country,” she says, “who had their students vote at the beginning of class each day. My amazing Lincoln Charter School had daily announcements and half-time activities at games designed around gathering votes for me!”
Jennifer Thompson concludes by thanking her competitors in Powerlifting who showed great sportsmanship: “My competitors (and their families) were posting stories on their social media to attract votes. In what other sport can you say that your direct competitors are cheering for you? Our sport – we rock!“
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 15-25 July 2021. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in the Games.