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Chestatee graduate Jenny Arthur achieves lifelong dream at 2019 Weightlifting World Championships
Chestatee graduate Jenny Arthur following her third-place overall finish at the 2019 Weightlifting World Championships on Wednesday, Sept. 25 in Pattaya City, Thailand. — Photo courtesy Stephen Galvan

As Chestatee graduate Jenny Arthur approached her final lift at the 2019 World Weightlifting Championships last Wednesday in Pattaya City, Thailand, she had every reason to be distracted. 

Arthur was already dealing with adjusting to a 13-hour time change and a brand new climate and culture. But more importantly than that, Arthur’s third and final clean and jerk attempt presented her a chance to medal at World Championships — a goal she had been striving for since she wrote it in her journal more than 10 years earlier when she first started lifting competitively. 

Despite the gravity behind the situation, Arthur found herself surprisingly peaceful as she reached for the bar. 

“There were a lot of things that were going through my head, but the biggest one was just to stay calm and to think about the lift more than the energy that was surrounding it,” she said. “I knew that in order to make the lift, I needed to be there mentally.”

Arthur had exactly what it took — both physically and mentally — to complete the 139 kg. lift, earning her a silver medal in the clean and jerk and lifting her from sixth to third overall to take home bronze in the women’s 81 kg. classification. 

The medals were Arthur’s first at the international level after she slotted in at fourth and fifth at worlds in the past two years respectively. 

“I fell short so many times before, but being able to kind of come back on this one and really finalize it and have it under my belt is such a good feeling,” she said. “My teammates were super thrilled for me, my parents, my family. They’re happy for me, because they know how much I worked for this.”

Arthur’s day began with an easily completed 106 kg. attempt in the snatch, followed by a disappointing miss at 110 kg. that would have put her in the top two following her first set of lifts had she completed it successfully. 

Despite the unexpected adversity, Arthur said staying calm until the end was always her priority. 

“I knew that the total is what’s most important, so the competition wasn’t over for me yet,” she said.

After two successful lifts at safer weights in the clean and jerk, Arthur decided to go for a less certain attempt to take a shot at the podium. Her total weight lifted between the two events was enough to push Arthur from sixth to third and into medal contention. 

It was a milestone result for Arthur, her family, her trainers and everyone else in her support system who contributed to her most recent achievement. 

“We were all thrilled,” she said. “We were all very excited.”

Arthur’s week only got better a few days later when she became engaged to former competitive weight lifter Norik Vardanian on her second to last night in Thailand to round out a wholly successful overseas venture. 

“It was a wonderful trip,” Arthur said. “It was a great one, one that I’ll definitely remember forever.”

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