78 Year Old Janis McBee Proves It’s Never Too Late to Start Olympic Lifting

If you’re running low on motivation and need a Monday pick me up, then look no further than 78 year old Janis McBee. She is currently a U.S. National Masters Record holder for two age groups in the snatch, clean & jerk, and total.

  • 70-74 age group: 58kg women’s records stand at a 22kg snatch, 28kg clean & jerk, and 50kg total.
  • 75-79 age group: 53kg women’s records stand at a 20kg snatch, 25kg clean & jerk, and 45kg total.

McBee recently competed in the 2017 Praxis Cup held in Salt Lake City, Utah. That doesn’t seem terribly out of the ordinary, until you consider that McBee drove over 250 miles from Ridgeline Fitness in Grand Junction, Colorado. Below is a video from the 2017 Praxis Cup of McBee’s snatch and clean & jerk.


Yes, she “pressed” her snatch, but with most masters classes at this age group lockout guidelines are generally more relaxed. This is done for the sake of competition and safety. In addition, she split snatches, which is often considered a more “old school” style, and can be linked to weightlifting’s origins.

We don’t see this rarely utilized lifting style with most younger competitive lifters, so it’s cool to see McBee use this method. Check out the video below of an even faster split jerk snatch from another masters athlete.

If you’re wondering, “If she pressed her snatch, then why did she split jerk and not just press then?” It’s most likely due to the fact that athletes at this age find jerking easier on the joints, as opposed to grinding through presses. Yet, that’s just my assumption.

What’s possibly the most impressive part of McBee’s lifting is that she only started a few years ago. Her first competition posted with results online is from 2009, and one of the commentator’s on the video also pointed out she’s relatively new to the sport of weightlifting.

McBee proves it’s never too late to learn a skill like weightlifting. If you feel intimidated to pick up and try weightlifting, then think of McBee crushing records, and check out some of the resources on our site.

Feature image from @slcfornow Instagram page.