Best Lifter spotlight from the USPC NorCal Lift-Toberfest on October 23, 2021.
Top Women's Master Raw Wilks 2.0...
Name, age & how long have you been Powerlifting?
Sally Goldman, 59 years old. I've been powerlifting for about 5.5 years.
Best lifts in competition?
137.5kg squat, 80kg bench, 167.5kg deadlift
Athletic background? What you did before powerlifting?
As a child I played tennis and swam, and in addition to these I played basketball and softball in high school. After about 30 years without doing any athletics, I was introduced to Crossfit at the age of 47, which was the first time I touched a barbell or did anything with weights. When I was growing up, women didn't go to the weight room and it wasn't something I really ever imagined myself doing.
The part about Crossfit I enjoyed the most was the lifting. After a while of focusing on Crossfit, I decided to switch my focus to powerlifting by following the Power Performance Training program run by Sam Starlin that was offered at my Crossfit gym. I did this for several years combining Crossfit and Powerlifting before joining Boss Barbell Club about 3 years ago.
Tell me something about your gym/team.
Currently I train at Boss Barbell Club (Dan Green's gym). It's a wonderful gym where there are lifters of all levels including some of the top lifters in the country. Everyone is there to support everyone else. When I did my first meet at the gym, Kristy Hawkins asked if I had a handler and offered to be my handler when she heard I didn't yet have someone to do that for me. It's an amazing environment to train for so many reasons.
Trying alone or training partner/coach, team?
Other than my training sessions with Dan, I train on my own but find that I can do much better when at the gym with others there even though we are all following our own programs. If there was a team training session then I think that would fit me well.
Something most people you train with (or those who follow you if you train alone) don't know about you?
I spent 18 years as a Professor of Computer Science at Washington University in St. Louis including having an endowed chair before moving to the Bay Area to join Google Research.
Biggest inspiration in the sport?
I am inspired by strong women like Kristy Hawkins and Terri Ashley and also one of my favorite Master Athletes, Linda Franklin, who keeps getting stronger even at 65. It reminds me that I can still push for PRs at an age where many think that women can't get stronger.
What's your favorite lift?
I really enjoy all the lifts. Deadlifts come the most natural to me.
Least favorite lift?
I feel like bench is my weakest lifts, and the one that is hardest to improve.
Biggest challenge in your training?
In October 2019 my husband was diagnosed with appendix cancer, and he passed away in August 2020. During much of this time, I had to completely step away from powerlifting and work so that I could care for him. With all that had happened combined with not being able to get to the gym because of the COVID pandemic, I found it really hard to find the motivation to return to powerlifting and had lots of doubt if I could get back to anywhere near the numbers I hit in November 2019. I decided that maintaining strength was important for my general well being so returned to the gym in July 2021 committed to putting in the work and to see what I can do. I've been happily surprised with how much strength I've gained back since then.
Ideal training atmosphere? Focused and dialed in or noisy and high energy?
Training in the gym where I'm not distracted by work and my adorable grandson (who always wants to be my helper) has worked best. I've switched to morning workouts where there are less people in the gym which is good for me right now and also gets me home to have dinner with my grandson.
Training plan. Do your own programming or have a coach?
I train once a week with Dan Green which has been very helpful. Along with being an amazing lifter, he's a really good coach. My programming is formed from what Dan does with me in these sessions.
Social media. Positives and negatives
For me it has been positive and is a way for me to connect with other lifters including a lot of other "older" women who lift.
Diet you follow? Supplements?
I don't follow any specific diet or take any supplements beyond protein powder but do try to eat relatively clean.
Biggest accomplishment in your powerlifting career?
Squat has been the hardest lift as far as improving my technique and being sure to consistently hit depth. At Boss of Norcall 11 (in Nov 2019) after having to cancel a trip to a USPA drug tested meet where I hoped to add to my World Records, I officially hit a >300# deadlift with a 137.5kg squat with all white lights. Still chasing that 400# DL and 200# bench.
What's one of your non-powerlifting goals?
To enjoy being a day-to-day part of my grandson's life and watch him grow. Nothing in life is guaranteed and I'm grateful to have this opportunity.
Finally is there anyone you would like to acknowledge or give a shout out to (team, coach, spouse, sponsors)?
I want to thank my family for their support, especially my late husband who always encouraged me despite all the time it took me away from him to be at the gym training. I would not have gone down this path without his support. I want to thank everyone at Boss Barbell Club, especially Dan Green for his coaching and guidance to help me see that I still have the ability to gain strength and set some PR goals for the future. Also thanks to Sam Starlin for everything he taught me and for all his support as I began competing in powerlifting.