Adelyn Jones does not see herself as a "pioneer" in sport. What started out as a coach saying to a 9-year old, "hey do you want to try weightlifting," turned into a passion for the sport. Training 5-days a week, Adelyn, or "Addie," as her friends and family call her, is an accomplished Team USA weightlifting champion.
As a young, smaller stature female in a traditionally male-dominated sport, Addie is often pigeonholed into narrow expectations of what she is capable of accomplishing. “No one expects a smaller female to throw around weights like the adults do,” says Emily Jones. "She once told me, I love that people underestimate me. She really knows how to command a room."
Shortly after she started weightlifting, Adelyn's youth coach left her weightlifting program. Adelyn was quickly faced with learning from a new coach. However, this change ended up being a positive one for Adelyn. Her new coach allowed her to excel further in the sport, and lift with who she wanted in the gym – including Olympic weightlifter Abby Raymond. "It allowed me to get to know more of my teammates and other people's styles," says Addie.
Addie, now 12 years old, is a two-time USA Weightlifting Youth Nationals Champion, 2020 National Silver medalist, 2022 U-15 Pan Am, and Youth World Team Member.
Most recently, Addie's coach David Ester nominated her as the TrueSport and SportsEngine's Athlete of the Month for showing excellent sportsmanship and positivity for her teammates.
Addie, her mom Emily, and TrueSport Ambassador and Paralympic triathlete Aaron Schiedes sat down for an interview to find out what true sportsmanship means to Addie and what advice she has for other girls who may want to try weightlifting.
What does sportsmanship mean for you?
Aaron: "Sportsmanship is a major aspect of sport. The coach who nominated you said you cheer on your teammates and take things well even when you lose. Did you learn this from someone, or is it just your love of sport shining through?"
Addie: "I think it's mainly from my parents saying it's ok sometimes not to get first. Sometimes you win even if you don't actually get first place. Like, if you have a good day, you've had a win as well."
Aaron: "Right, it's attitudes like this that can keep us going."
How did you stay engaged in your sport through the challenges of COVID-19?
Aaron: "How is it over the past two years that you've stayed engaged with your sport and motivated with the less in-person competition."
Addie: "I think my overall love of the sport has kept me going. I love training and competing, even if things aren't the way I want them to be. Just knowing my teammates are always here for me has kept me at it."
Emily (Addie's mom): "We had some really tough times there when the gym shut down. She was training and competing over Zoom in the garage. She never strayed away from her goals. It was really impressive."
Addie states that she motivates herself by knowing there are good days and bad days. The hard days are what can help her achieve her goals.
Leading the charge for young female weightlifters everywhere.
Aaron: “Historically, weightlifting has been seen as a male-dominated sport. How does it make you feel if someone tells you you're a pioneer or may have a future impact on females who may want to try weightlifting?”
Addie: "It feels good to know I can influence others to try a new sport. Just trust yourself; as long as you believe it, you can do it."
Emily: "She has this bracelet that says "believe" that she wears a lot, that seems to drive that motivation up, too."
Speed Round with Adelyn
- Career Highlight (so far): American Open Finals
- Favorite Weightlifting Move: Snatches (because they're not easily mastered).
- Favorite Sport to Play (other than weightlifting): Badminton
- Pre and Post-Game Treat: Kodiak Chocolate Chip Cakes (Pancakes)
- Favorite Pump-Up Song: Sunshine by OneRepublic