Good Sports: Powerlifting national champions training in Merced

Alec Nolan Image
Saturday, January 14, 2023
Good Sports: Powerlifting national champions training in Merced
For a powerlifting dynamic duo in Merced, the gym has become a second home.

If you take a drive up Highway 99 to Merced, you'll find a very strong and dynamic duo.

Merced natives Kimberly Brown, 57, and Judy Oberlander, 59, are two of the strongest women you'll come across.

With the help of husband and wife Josh and Michael Amaral, the owners of Olympus Athletics, the women started to stack weight.

"When she joined, we were thrilled and just wanted to say hey would you try this and she was super interested in and she's been doing great with it," explained Michael.

"When I first got with Josh, I thought I wanted to be an Olympic lifter. He said okay, but that's really, really hard," Brown added.

So, powerlifting became top priority.

"Powerlifting is a test of absolute strength," said Josh.

A competition consisting of 3 attempts in the squat, bench press, and deadlift. 9 lifts to find the strongest athlete.

"I'm like, okay, let's try it let's see how this works out. And here I am in this wonderful world of powerlifting," Brown explained.

A world the two have not only entered but are starting to take hold of.

This past November, both women crowned national champions in their respective age group and weight division.

Each holding world records and lifting more than a combined 1500 pounds between the two.

"I'm really an excited person so i really like the atmosphere so i really feed off of that too," said Oberlander.

Their coaches are excited for the future.

"Just her willingness to try new things and push herself mostly," said Michael.

For Oberlander and Brown, the gym has become a second home.

"I would love to compete, continuing competing and just build on that," said Oberlander.

Both are proud to represent the Central Valley on a national stage.

"It's really cool, to build up our name not only as a gym, but as a community to show people that there is powerlifting everywhere," said Brown.

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