Skip to content

Another amazing showing for Moose Jaw’s Stinn at Pan American powerlifting championship

World-record setting weekend culminates with qualification for World Games, induction into North American Powerlifting Federation Hall of Fame
Moose Jaw’s Rhaea Stinn hadn’t even touched the bar at the recent Pan American powerlifting championships in Orlando, Fla. when she received some incredibly good news.

Shortly after arriving for the international event, Stinn -- one of the most storied powerlifters in Canadian history -- was notified she was to be inducted into the North American Powerlifting Hall of Fame at the conclusion of the meet.

It’s a fitting honour for the 2019 IPF World Open champion and the latest highlight in a long and successful career that shows no sign of slowing down.

“I found out the first day I walked into the venue. One of the officials came up to me and said ‘congratulations’ and I was like ‘oooh, thanks, but for what, I haven’t done anything yet?” Stinn said with a laugh while recalling how she found out she was joining the Hall. “And he said ‘you’ve been inducted into the North American Hall of Fame’... I’m not sure what the criteria is or anything like that, but it’s definitely an honour for my achievements not only for the last few years but for my whole career going back to when I was a sub-junior. So it’s definitely something special.”

So what does a Hall of Fame powerlifter do in the same meet she receives the honour? Nothing much, other than set a bench press world record, five Pan American records, four North American records and, of course, take the gold medal in the women’s 84-kilogram division.

And just as important as all that, qualify for the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Ala.

“That was the primary goal, other than just competing and getting back on the platform,” Stinn said. “The world record in the bench was a little bit extra special, then the Hall of Fame induction was a complete surprise, it wasn’t even in the realm of my thoughts.”

Stinn recorded a 247.5-kilogram (544.5-pound) squat and 210-kg (462-pound) deadlift to go along with her world-record bench of 213 kg (468.6 pounds). Her 670.5-kg (1,475.1-pound) total was far and away the highest among women lifters at the meet.

Interestingly enough, had her day been even better, Stinn’s bench record would have been substantially higher -- she cleared 225 kg (495 pounds) at nationals in 2020, but since it wasn’t an international meet it wasn’t classified as a world record. Stinn actually broke her old world mark of 212.5 kg (467.5 pounds) on her second lift and tried to better it at 218 kg on her final attempt but just missed.

“That’s the funny thing about powerlifting, you sort of know what you’re capable of based on how training has been going, and rarely do you surprise yourself,” she said. “The body does have a limit, so you usually know what you’re going to do and it worked out that I was able to set the world record.”

The focus will now turn toward the World championships in November, and especially the World Games beginning July 7, 2022.

“It’s kind of crazy to think this is my fourth one, having competed at this level for so long,” Stinn said. “I’ve never medalled at any of the World Games, so that’s my next goal. We’ll see how the next year of training goes and see what happens.”

Stinn wasn’t the only member of Team Unparalleled to light up the Pan American meet.

Moose Jaw’s Kaylee Maruska took first place in the junior women’s 76-kg  division with a 185-kg (407-pound) squat, 122.5-kg (269.5-pound) bench and 185-kg (407-pound) deadlift for a 492.5 kg (1,083.5-pound) total. That was good enough to land three North American records and five Pan American records on top of being named the best junior lifter at the meet.

Shantelle Szuch -- who hails from Moose Jaw but now lives in Red Deer -- competed in the Masters I (age 40-49) 69-kg division and cleared 185 kg (407 pounds) in the squat, 103 kg (226.6 pounds) in the bench and 190.5 kg (419.1 pounds) in the deadlift for a 478.5 (1,052.7 pound) total. That landed her five Pan American and five National records.

Mava Brydges continued her own storied career in the Masters 3 (age 60-69) 76-kg division and cleared 132.5 kg (291.5 pounds) in the squat, 82.5 kg (181.5 pound) in the bench and 137.5 kg (302.6 kg) in the deadlift to total 352.5 kg (775.5 pounds). Like her fellow competitors, that led to all sorts of records -- five Pan American, two North American and nine National. Brydges also received the best Masters-aged Lifter Award.