Meet Melanie Roach, a mother, a wife of a politician, business owner and an Olympic weightlifter. Read her biography and see photos and a video of her below.
***UPDATE 8/10/08 – Congratulations to Melanie Roach for her American record and sixth place finish at the Olympic finals of the women’s 53kg (117 lbs) division Sunday. She lifted a total of 425.5 pounds, which was a personal best as well.
Her success has her pondering her prior decision to retire after the Olympics.
“Coming into it, I was definitely retiring,” the 33-year-old mother of three said. “Now that I’ve gotten a taste of it, I don’t know, I guess I may have to negotiate a little bit with my husband.”
Melanie Roach is not your ordinary weightlifter. She’s also not your ordinary Olympic hopeful. For one thing, she’s petite. For another, she’s the mother of three children (one with autism), the wife of a politician and a businesswoman. At 33-years-old, 5′ 1″ and 117 pounds, she can life 238 pounds over her head and that’s not the most extraordinary thing about her.
Roach was recently featured in the sports section of the New York Times in a story that featured her inner strength that bypasses her physical strength.
She will need to finish at least fourth in the 53-kilogram weight class at the Olympic trials in Atlanta on May 17th in order to qualify for Beijing.
Melanie Kosoff Roach started her athletic career as a gymnast. She started gymnastics when she was 12-years-old. Even though she was considered a latecomer to the sport, she excelled quickly. She attended Auburn High School in Auburn, Washington and competed in gymnastics. She dislocated her elbow in her junior year and had to have reconstructive surgery on the elbow later.
Melanie started weightlifting at the urging of a friend in 1994 with Coach John Thrush of the Calpian Weightlifting Club in Sumner, Washington. She quickly qualified for the American Open Championships and placed third in her first event. She was set to go to the 2000 Sumer Olympics in Sydney until she herniated two disks in her back just eight weeks before the trials. She had to have surgery on her back, but was back to weightlifting very soon after surgery.
Melanie met and married Dan Roach in 1998. He is a Washington State Representative. They have three children, 7-year-old Ethan, 5-year-old Drew and 3-year-old Camille. The family is Mormon and deeply involved in their church.
Their middle child, Drew, was diagnosed with autism in 2005. His diagnosis brought about changes in the family that Melanie credits with helping her find the inner strength to continue her journey to the Olympics in spite of the many obstacles she has had to overcome. Her journey to the Olympics has truly become a family process.
Melanie runs the family business, Roach Gymnastics, a gym with 500 students and 17 employees. She uses the gym there to train for the Olympics.