Weightlifter Spotlight: Melissa Doherty
7th in a series of weightlifter spotlights, to help our continually growing community, get to know one another outside of "What do you snatch and clean & jerk?". Hoping that these stories brings us closer together as a community of people who share a common obsession with the sport.
Today's spotlight shines down over Eugene, Oregon on a doctor, partner to Oregon weightlifter Lauren Hatmaker, mother of 2 big furry puppies and competitive 63kg masters lifter Melissa Doherty. (She's the one on the right pictured below, if you couldn't tell;-)
I believe I had the pleasure of meeting Melissa through her better half Lauren;-) most likely at a training session. What struck me about Mel is how genuine and no fuss she is. She clearly loves the sport, the community it provides and puts in the work day in and day out to make it better. I have been lucky enough to travel with her to 2 national competitions and witnessed her not only win her weight and age group but break a long standing CJ record at Masters Nationals 2017! If you don't know her, you should. She's a gem in our community crown. Everyone...meet Melissa.
1. Where are you from and any other relevant info? Family, profession, etc.
I'm originally from Portland. I spent 10 years in Corvallis working as a firefighter/paramedic, before going to medical school at the ripe old age of 33. I've been working as an ER doc at Sacred Heart Hospital since finishing residency in 2003. I currently live in Eugene with my partner Lauren, and our two plus-sized dogs, Olivia and Eleanor.
2. How long have you been weightlifting for?
I have only been seriously weightlifting for about a year and a half. I did my first meet in December 2015.
3. How did you get started?
I started CrossFit in 2011. That was my introduction to Olympic weightlifting.
4. Your personal mantra?
Hah! "Embrace the suck." This has served me well in many arenas: firefighting, marathoning, my job as an Emergency Physician, and now weightlifting.
5. How many days a week do you train?
4-5. I'd train every day if my body would let me.
6. Who does all your programming/coaching?
Jessica Gee. She's the bomb.
7. Who do you train with? Where do you train?
I train with an amazing group of lifters at our Gee Strength weightlifting club.
8. What are your best competition lifts or training lifts if you choose not to compete?
My best competition lifts are a 49 snatch and 65 C/J. I've hit 50/68 in training/mock meets.
9. Do you compete and if so why?
Yes. I like to compete to give me something to train for, and as a measuring stick for improvement.
10. What is your biggest accomplishment in weightlifting?
Winning my age/weight group at Masters Nationals this year. I somehow managed to beat a woman who has won 12 prior Masters Championships. I had a good meet and she didn't. It's crazy. And I broke a Clean and Jerk record in the process.
11. What would you say is most important to you in your success?
Having fun and treating people well--pretty much what life's all about.
12. What would you say is your biggest hurdle in weightlifting?
My skinny runner's legs, full of slow-twitch muscle. Years of marathoning did not help me build weightlifter's legs.
13. What would you say is your biggest asset in weightlifting?
My careers in emergency services and medicine have given me a great ability to focus under the worst of circumstances, so I don't really get nervous on the platform. I think that's pretty helpful. And, I did a lot of general strength and conditioning when I was younger, so I've always been pretty strong.
14. Who or what inspires you?
In weightlifting, pretty much anyone who is a good lifter and not a jerk. In life, people who live their lives with grace and selflessness.
15. What’s your favorite jam to listen to when you train?
I've lifted to everything from hip hop to classic rock to opera. I love all kinds of music and different genres suit different lifting sessions.
16. Tell us something that no ones knows about you as a weightlifter.
I aspire to a bodyweight snatch. I'm gonna have to lose about 10 kilos, but one day it's gonna happen. 😂