Oskin quickly shows that she has a lot of power Lifter makes a winning debut

January 07, 1993|By Neil Lippy | Neil Lippy,Contributing Writer

Powerlifting is not a glamorous sport -- particularly for women.

But 31-year-old Susan Oskin of Hampstead prefers competition to glamour.

"I really like breaking the image of the stereotype," said Oskin, a project manager for Planned Parenthood of Maryland. "I like BTC going against the grain. This goes back a long way for me. I actually think it is something positive for women."

In her first sanctioned competition, Oskin won her weight class and "Most Outstanding Lifter" at the National Natural Amateur Strength Association meet in Pittsburgh on Dec. 4-6.

Although Oskin had no other competition in her 198-pound weight class, she did have to defeat three others to take the top trophy.

Powerlifting is decided on the combination of three different events with three judges in each event.

A lifter has to bench-press, squat and deadlift with the judges deciding if all the criteria established for a legitimate lift were met.

The total poundage of all three lifts are combined for the Outstanding Lifter award.

Despite the win, Oskin didn't feel like she did her best.

"I was expecting to blow out my squats at 420. I wanted a personal record of 420," said Oskin. "I warmed up poorly and there was one minute of rest between my lifts."

Oskin had a total of 875.9 pounds, with a squat of 347, a bench of 176.2 and a deadlift of 352.7 pounds.

It was the deadlift -- one of her weaker events that made the difference in the meet.

Oskin defeated a 225-pound opponent with her personal best in the deadlift.

"I didn't think I would do as well as I did in the deadlift," she said. "I learned a lot at this meet. Judges would help me along with the next lift and do things like tell me to adjust my depth when doing squats."

It hasn't been a long road for Oskin as she has been lifting for only two years.

Her husband, Laird, got her interested in weightlifting and a friend at the gym in Virginia Beach pointed to her natural talent.

"I'm proud of her," said Laird, a branch manager of Signal and a six-year veteran of weightlifting. "She works hard, but she has a lot of natural ability. I guess you could say I'm jealous of it."

Much of the Oskins' life is centered around the gymnasium at the Four Seasons Sports Complex in Hampstead.

The first thing the couple does when moving to a new area is find the closest gym and join. The Oskins have moved three times in five years.

"This is a way to release," said Oskin, a 1983 graduate from Thiel College with a degree in sociology.

Four Seasons is not only a place to release and train; it also supported her in the contest. The Oskins have plenty of friendships with work-out partners from the gym.

"This is a good gym to work out in," said Oskin. "There are about eight people from the gym that have been part of my training."

One helpful hand is runner-up in the Delaware Valley Open and New Jersey Natural, Bruce Blackburn.

"She's just determined and dedicated," said the 26-year-old Blackburn. "It is very unusual to see a woman squat 405 pounds."

With the first competition and the first win under her weightlifting belt, Oskin wants to compete in bigger and better ways.

"I plan on competing in Hagerstown in February in an all-around meet," she said. "I hope I'm going to break some records for this organization."

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