A mom of two boys — Emile (1.5 years) and Elijah (3.5 years) — Candice says that, for her, lifting is a stress relief and gives her a sense of control.
During her second pregnancy, she and her husband divorced. And all of a sudden she became a single mom.
“I was terrified to raise two alone,” she said. “Especially with a toddler too young to really help with anything. I was insecure about my body as there was an extramarital affair while I was pregnant.”
It was after her second son was born that she found lifting and a new relationship.
There are a lot of things that give me anxiety in the gym. Does that gal over there hacking up a lung have bird flu? Does this bench have ringworm all over it? Is that guy going to snap in half as he quarter-squats 350 pounds?
But there’s one fear that surpasses all of these: being called over the loudspeaker by the gym daycare center.
As Angela Karr approached the bar, she felt the eyes of the judges and audience on her.
In her first Olympic lifting competition, the mom of six, grandmother,
nurse, and member of Team Some Assembly Required, bent over the bar to screw in her right hand as time ticked down on the judge’s clock.
“My heart was pounding,” she said. “It took several seconds for me to screw in my hand to the bar and the whole time I was worrying that the judges would think ‘Oh, this poor cripple girl, let’s give her three white lights.’ I didn’t want them to pity me.”
Born without her right hand, Angela grew up adapting to whatever sport or activity she wanted to participate in — playing on the monkey bars, jumping rope, tying her shoes, even starting an IV when she worked as a nurse.
“Growing up, my mom and dad had an old-school way of thinking,” she said. “I had to figure it out myself.”
It wasn’t until she was in her 40s and tried CrossFit that she found a movement she couldn’t adapt — the snatch.
Working with a Hanger Clinic prosthetist, Angela developed an arm with the wrist mobility necessary to make the lift, but it requires her to be attached to the bar.
“It’s scary because I can’t bail,” she said. “I’m stuck to the bar.”
But the time she put in with her coaches at Practice CrossFit and the modifications she made with her prosthetist paid off.
“Everyone’s equal on the platform,” Angela said. “You’ve either done the work or you haven’t. There’s nowhere to hide.”
With her arm screwed to the bar, Angela made her lift — a 57-pound snatch — and earned her three white lights.