On April 25, 2021, Marianna Gasparyan took part in World Raw Powerlifting Federation’s 2021 Kern US Open meet. She cemented her position as the number one female powerlifter in the world by winning the 56-kilogram division and took the overall victory with the highest Wilks score out of all lifters in San Diego, CA. No one knew it then, but it seems that her performance on that platform will serve as her swan song in the sport.
On May 7, 2021, Gasparyan announced on Instagram that she is retiring from competitive powerlifting at the age of 32. Aside from calling it a career while on top, Gasparyan expressed her love for a strength sport that she has been a part of for almost a decade. In her post, Gasparyan writes that she wants to leave powerlifting injury-free and healthy.
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“I am leaving at the peak of my career and at the peak of my strength,” Gasparyan wrote on Instagram. “This is the most difficult decision in my life. This decision with tears in my eyes. This decision with pain in my heart. Only now that I realize how much I love powerlifting. I did what no one could do. I wrote a new story. I did everything possible to make women’s powerlifting interesting. I showed femininity and incredible strength together.”
According to Open Powerlifting, Gasparyan’s performance at the 2019 Kern US Open in the Raw W/ Wraps category is still ranked as the number one performance out of all lifters — men and women. At a bodyweight of 56 kilograms, her Wilks score on that day was 720.67. Her numbers from that performance, which are all personal bests, can be seen below:
- Squat — 260 kilograms (573.2 pounds)
- Bench Press — 132.5 kilograms (292.1 pounds)
- Deadlift — 220 kilograms (485 pounds)
- Total — 612.5 kilograms (1350.3 pounds)
At the time, these numbers were all world records for her division. Gasparyan still holds the squat, bench press, and total records at 56 kilograms. Her deadlift record was broken by Stefanie Cohen, who pulled 240 kilograms at the 2020 Hybrid Showdown. Gasparyan also holds the squat (255 kilograms) and total (589.8 kilograms) records in the 60-kilogram class.
Gasparyan’s first high-profile meet, the Kazakhstan Powerlifting Cup, took place in 2013. At 24 years old, she won the 56-kilogram division with a 220 kilogram squat, 90-kilogram bench, and 150-kilogram deadlift. She placed at the top of the podium in her division many more times over the course of her career. From 2013 to 2021, Gasparyan has never placed lower than second in 26 meets (according to Open Powerlifting). She has not placed lower than first place since 2017.
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Away from the platform, Gasparyan has made headlines for the “Powerlifting Grandma” prank at a gym in Los Angeles. She made short work of four plate squats and two-plate bench presses while perplexed gym regulars stared in shock.
While she is best known for her dominance in powerlifting, she has also competed on another stage. In 2020, Gasparyan took part in the NPC Savannah Championships as part of the women’s bodybuilding division. She placed first overall out of five total competitors. Gasparyan has not shared whether her retirement includes bodybuilding or if she plans to compete again.
Featured Image: Justin Yoncé