Powerlifter Elsa Pálsdóttir Sets Three World Records in Budapest

Icelandic powerlifter Elsa Pálsdóttir set three world records at the European Masters Classic Powerlifting Championships in Budapest, Hungary, yesterday. Elsa, who’d been nursing a minor groyne injury in the run up to the competition, told Mbl.is that she was delighted by her achievements.

A world-record squat

When we met powerlifter Elsa Pálsdóttir last year, she concluded our interview by saying that she hoped to defend her powerlifting titles in the future and that she was convinced that there was “room for improvement.”

“As long as I have my health, I’ll keep at it,” Elsa remarked. “And as long as I’m having fun. That’s why I do this; you’ve got to enjoy yourself, too.”

Read More: Staying Power (an interview with powerlifter Elsa Pálsdóttir)

Elsa certainly appeared to be enjoying herself at the European Masters Classic Powerlifting Championships (held in Budapest, Hungary) yesterday. Competing in the 60-69 age group, Elsa set three world records and one Icelandic record over the course of the three events (there were four other women in her weight class, i.e. -76 kg).

The champion powerlifter spoke to a reporter from Mbl.is at the end of the night: “I began by lifting a safe 125 kg in the squat,” Elsa observed. “I then attempted 138 kg, which is half a kilo over the world record. I failed the first attempt, so it was do or die on the next one – and the bar went up.”

This would prove to be Elsa’s first world record of the day.

More world records

During the bench press, the sexagenarian opened with 62.5 kg – just three kg lighter than her Icelandic record. She followed this lift by successfully bench pressing 67.5 kg, an Icelandic record. Her final attempt was 70 kg, which Elsa did not manage to lift.

Next up, the deadlift.

Elsa faced tough competition in the final event. She began with a safe lift of 155 kg and then managed a remarkable 163 kg, thereby breaking two world records – one in the event itself and another in the total weight lifted across all three events. Elsa’s joy was, however short-lived. A Finnish competitor lifted 167.5 kg, surpassing Elsa’s achievement and setting a new world record.

Elsa was not ready to give up. She asked for 170 kg to be loaded onto the bar – and then slowly pulled the weight off the ground, thereby setting yet another world record: her third of the day, across the squat, deadlift, and combined events.

As noted by Mbl.is, one could say that Elsa set four world records (if one includes the initial deadlift record, which only stood for a few minutes).

“I feel great”

“I feel great,” Elsa told Mbl.is. “It was a great relief to manage 138 kg in the squat. I’ve been increasing the load in training, but because I’ve been nursing a minor groyne injury, I’ve struggled a bit with the depth of my squat. My record in Iceland is actually 142.5 kg, but it isn’t a valid world record because it was not set at an international tournament.”

Elsa also shed some light on her rivalry with the Finnish competitor.

“This Finnish woman entered my age group at the end of the year; she was born in 1963 (Elsa was born in 1960). I had a bit of an advantage over her in the squat; a half a kilo on her in the bench press; but, prior to this tournament, we were on equal footing when it came to the deadlift  – so I knew that it would be quite the battle,” Elsa remarked. “I thought it was incredibly sweet to set a world record, see it taken from me, and then get it back.”

When asked about her preparation for the tournament, Elsa replied that the training had gone well, aside from the groyne injury: “It went very well. I’ve been lifting well, but I’ve been struggling with this groyne injury, so we needed to adjust our training a bit so that it wouldn’t interfere with this tournament. But otherwise, the preparation went very well,” Elsa replied. As noted in our long-form article on Iceland Review, Elsa is coached by Kristleifur Andrésson, to whom Elsa refers as “her rock.”

Elsa concluded by saying that light training would be up ahead over the next few weeks and that her dream was to defend her World Masters Women’s Classic Championship title, which she won in October of last year in Canada. “But this year’s tournament will be held in Mongolia, which means a lot of travel and high costs. Nevertheless, that’s our aim, and we hope to begin preparations in a few weeks.”

Staying Power

Elsa Pálsdóttir was doing what she loved most: Deadlifting. As she rested between sets, she chit-chatted with a man of Polish extraction, who was likewise availing himself of the equipment in the snug Massi gym in Njarðvík. When their conversation came to a close, Elsa’s interlocutor turned to another gym patron, an older Icelander, and observed, “that […]

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