ST. LOUIS — Two and a half years ago, Emma Hampton described herself as a normal teenager.
“Just hanging out with friends, normal stuff like that,” Hampton said.
Along with hanging out with friends, Hampton was a member of the Parkway North Track team where she was a thrower.
Her parents always encouraged her to step out of her comfort zone and do something different, so one day she decided to do CrossFit. Not long after, she was recruited to take part in something else, powerlifting.
“I recognized talent right away,” owner of Crossfit Maryland Heights, Chris Glover said.
Glover is now Hampton’s head coach. He said it didn’t take much convincing, Hampton was always ready for the next challenge.
Hampton, who had never done powerlifting before, said the first week was the roughest.
“Oh my God, my body was wrecked, like it was so sore,” Hampton said.
That soreness quickly turned to addiction.
“She told me at the beginning of her second competitive year that she wanted to try for Nationals, and right then I knew we had something,” Glover said.
Hampton said when she first joined, she had no idea how much confidence it would give her.
“When I started I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into and then I found it so empowering,” she said.
But make no mistake about it, Hampton said it wasn’t easy, but she told herself, anytime you’re doing something hard you’re going to question why you’re doing this, she had to stick with it, which Glover said was no problem.
“Just sticking with the process, that’s probably her best attribute,” Glover said. “Everyone sees superstars in the lifting….but those people that are superstars, they’ve been lifting for years and years and years.”
So, the first thing Hampton had to manage after overcoming the pain, was the technique, which Glover said is the most important thing.
“There are times where he’s like takeoff weights and I’m like well I just lifted it and he was like no, you got to get your form right,” Hampton said.
The form was perfected, and the accomplishments started rolling in, like placing second at the USA Power Lifting Raw Nationals.
“That was insane, the whole entire time I was there, I was like am I dreaming,” Glover said with a smile.
But the dream continued for Hampton. On the way home from a competition, she received some news that would change her life.
“I took off my headphones and was like, Mom, I just got this email and I have no idea what it means,” Hampton said.
The USA national team asked her to join them at the International Powerlifting Federation World Championships in Minsk, Belarus this summer.
Hampton said she can’t recall the words following that email, it was more of a gibberish excited talk. Not bad news for someone who started lifting two and a half years ago.
Hampton said she fell in love with the grind, and now she’s helping pave a way for other girls who are interested in the sport.
“I think the funny thing is, I’ll talk with teammates or the other people at the gym and we’ll be like ahh that was the worst thing ever, see you tomorrow, stuff like that,” Hampton said.
“She shows that if you really put the work into it, you can be just as good as any man,” Glover said.
“You have no idea what you’re capable of and if you just try it, you might just end up falling in love with it,” Hampton said.
Hampton said the cost of competing adds up over the course of her time but her parents are dedicated to getting her to every practice and competition. If you'd like to help Hampton out, you can donate to her GoFundMe.