World's strongest woman finally happy with her size

Thu Dec 4, 2008 4:20am EST
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By Kim Junghyun and Jon Herskovitz

SEOUL (Reuters Life!) - South Korean weightlifting champion Jang Mi-ran battled with her size as a teenager, but now the world's strongest woman, as she is popularly known, has become a role model for heavy youngsters at home and abroad.

Jang won weightlifting gold at the Beijing Olympics in the super-heavyweight class with a series of record-setting lifts. Since then, the 125-kg (275 lb) athlete has become a national hero and an inspiration to other females.

Jang, who has a ready smile and a hearty laugh, spoke to Reuters about her life as an athlete and new-found celebrity.

Q: What is the best thing about being the world's strongest woman?

A: "I used to think that my size was a flaw before I started weightlifting. But after I started weightlifting, that has become my strongest point. Now I'm very pleased to be dubbed the world's strongest woman."

Q: What are the drawbacks? Do your friends ask you to help when they move or open jars?

A: "Well, not too often, fortunately. I think the strength I use for weightlifting is completely different than the strength needed for other tasks. I guess I'm not that exceptionally strong in doing everyday stuff."

Q: But still, can you easily open jars?   Continued...

<p>South Korea's national team weightlifter Jang Mi-ran practises during a media day event showing their training session for the Beijing 2008 Olympics at the Korea National Training Centre in Seoul July 9, 2008. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak</p>