Jodi Stumbo wanted to rock a Grand Slam in the worst way, especially after coming so close to doing so in 2014.
Stumbo is not a baseball or softball player, so there were no bases-loaded round-trippers for her. And she’s not a tennis player or golfer, so she didn’t reel in gobs of money.
Stumbo, 49, of Santa Fe, is an amateur weightlifter.
When she recently won the American Masters Weightlifting Championships — setting an event record and tying the world mark by lifting 84 kilograms (185 lbs., 3 oz.) in the clean and jerk – she completed a sweep of the Pan Am Games, the World Masters Championships and the National Masters in 2015.
“I’m not sure I’m going to do it again anytime soon,” she said with a chuckle. “It was a goal that I had. I tried to do it in 2014 but took second in nationals. It was quite a dream. When I first thought about doing this, I didn’t realize how intense or how complicated it could get.”
For instance, the world championships were in Finland, “so I had to drag my coach halfway around the world for that one,” Stumbo said.
An accomplished multi-sport athlete who played volleyball and field hockey in high school, then field hockey and swimming at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., Stumbo moved to Santa Fe more than 20 years ago and founded Carl and Sandra’s Gym. Carl Miller was a trainer for the U.S. Olympic Weightlifting team and an advocate of the sport. The couple encouraged Stumbo to explore weightlifting and she took to it right away.
“When I moved to Santa Fe and I joined the gym, I just wanted to work out,” she said. “I’ve always had the passion to work hard, the drive, determination. That was always a fit for whatever sport I did. That pushed me into the things I try.”
Shortly thereafter, Carl and Sandra’s son, Shane Miller, founded the Miller Gym, and Stumbo has been training there ever since.
And lifting heavier and heavier weights. She said she set the world record for her age category (45-49) and weight class by lifting 68 kilos in the snatch competition at the 2013 Pan American Games in Chicago.
In the weight-lifting competition, however, being able to pound the weight is one thing because it requires competitors to perform in two different categories: the snatch, and the clean and jerk.
But her years in the gym gave her something of an advantage because she learned her craft under men’s tutelage.
When she first started out, “there really weren’t any women weightlifters,” Stumbo said. “I just trained with all the guys in the afternoons and evenings. I never thought about it any other way.”
Weightlifting is unlike other sports, she said, because it pits her against the weight and challenges her mettle.
“It tests my personality to be strong and tough,” Stumbo said. “This last meet, I told myself that I’m not going to let it go. I’m going to push it higher so the next person coming up in this age group is going to have to push really hard to break my records.”
A middle school volleyball coach who has also coached JV at Desert Academy, Stumbo said her success at weightlifting makes her a good role model for her players.
“It’s like a personal test,” she said. “Once you’re an adult, you don’t have to push yourself out there, you don’t have to get out of your comfort zone. But weightlifting, you have to put forth a really good performance and you can’t let up.”
That’s what she wants her players to learn, as well.
“It’s a life lesson,” Stumbo said. “I tell them I know you can believe in yourself. And I feel like my lessons as a weightlifter helps me a good coach to my middle schoolers.”
Journal photographer Eddie Moore contributed to this report.