Imagine being eight years old and stepping up to a barbell loaded with weight plates that stand as tall as your knees. You see how much they weigh and do the quick math, and realize you are about to attempt a deadlift equivalent to three times your body weight. That’s what reigning two-time US Youth National Weightlifting champion in the 30-kilogram class Aurora “Rory” van Ulft did.
On Sept. 15, 2021, van Ulft shared a video on her Instagram page wherein she successfully locked out a 90-kilogram (198.4-pound) deadlift. She performed the lift in a sumo stance, wearing a lifting belt, wrist straps, and socks. After the lift, van Ulft celebrated by tapping into her gymnastics skills and sticking a one-handed aerial. Check it out:
View this post on Instagram
[Related: Powerlifter Rudy Kadlub Sets 4 IPL World Records at 2021 USPA Drug-Tested National Championships]
Rory van Ulft — Competitive Weightlifting Career
Despite performing a massive deadlift, van Ulft’s competitive background is as a weightlifter. She is the current US Youth National Weightlifting champion at 30 kilograms in the 13 & Under division, having won back-to-back titles in 2020 and 2021. Her win in 2020 cemented her spot as the youngest ever USA national weightlifting champion. Here are her results from those events:
2020 US Youth National Championships — 30KG, 13 & Under
*Rory van Ulft was seven years old at the time of this competition.
- 28 kilograms (61.7 pounds)
- 30 kilograms (66.1 pounds)
32 kilograms (70.6 pounds)
- Clean & Jerk
- 38 kilograms (83.8 pounds)
- 40 kilograms (88.2 pounds)
- 42 kilograms (92.6 pounds)
- Total — 72 kilograms (158.7 pounds)
2021 US Youth National Championships — 30KG, 13 & Under
*Rory van Ulft was eight years old at the time of this competition.
- 33 kilograms (72.8 pounds)
- 35 kilograms (77.2 pounds)
36 kilograms (79.4 pounds)
- Clean & Jerk
- 43 kilograms (94.8 pounds)
- 45 kilograms (99.2 pounds)
- 47 kilograms (103.6 pounds)
- Total — 82 kilograms (180.8 pounds)
van Ulft’s performance set national records in both lifts and total. Previously, the previous records were all scored in June 2019 by Lilli Shelton. van Ulft’s 35-kilogram (77.2-pound) snatch matches the youth national record in the next weight class up (33-kilograms), held by Kendra Hoover.
The 2022 US Youth National Championships are scheduled for June 25 through July 3, 2021, in Las Vegas, NV, as part of USA Weightlifting Nationals Week. Can van Ulft score a defend her title for the three-peat? Judging from her gigantic deadlift, her competition better get to work.
Feature image: @roryvanulft on Instagram