Women’s Hall of Fame – 2004

Ruth Welding

Biographical Information

Born: Jan 4, 1956
Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
Current Residence: 1212 Old Mill Lane, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

Powerlifting Details

Ruth has competed in all but two of the Powerlifting Nationals since 1979. One she was platform manager rather than lifting because she had just had major surgery 6 weeks before. The second one she had scheduling conflicts and could not attend (1992). Powerlifting was under AAU originally, then USPF in the late 1970′s. After much debate on the use of steroids, the ADFPA was formed. For the first few years, Ruth competed in both USPF and ADFPA. In 1997, ADFPA became USAPL. She has been a reliable and consistent lifter, referee and coach. Her attention to detail and always looking out for the lifter is constant. Ruth competes in multiple sports and is one of the few lifters that has been around since the beginning and still competes. As Pat Malone says “I really appreciate and respect the athletes that stick with it�and Ruth epitomizes sticking with it”.

Ruth’s formula for success? She does not have a current coach, 95% of the time she trains alone for the throws. In Powerlifting, she has a training partner when Sue Hallen shows up, but only for heavy workout days. Other friends in the gym help in between weekends. Ruth designs the training programs, runs them and does them herself. The self motivation is incredible

How did you get interested in Powerlifting?

Ruth read about training techniques in Swimming and Track and Field from worldwide sources. Doc Counsilman at Indiana University stressed strength training, as did the Australian Swimming Coaches. Ruth took that to heart and began working out at Purdue’s Co-Rec in addition to the team practices and meets. There she ran into Pat Malone.

She also was a graduate assistant coaching Track and Field at Purdue under the head coach Fred Wilt, who also was a strong proponent of strength training and plyometric training. One of her professors, Dr. Ismail, was one of the pioneers in company wellness programs and was also a proponent of strength training.

After graduating and not having any collegiate eligibility left, Ruth talked to Pat Malone and discovered that there was a sport where you “just lifted weights”. Cool! She joined the Purdue Powerlifting Team and began working out at the Co-Rec with the team. When they would be working out in the Purdue Co-Rec, the boys would come in, look around, say “oh man, it�s the women powerlifters” and leave. This was a time when being female in gym environments was not always welcome. In fact, in many of the meets in the early days, they would not encourage women lifters or allow them to lift simply by not having “anyone to weigh them in”.

On a daily basis, Ruth continues to look forward to training for either Powerlifting or Throwing (Shot, Discus, Hammer, Weight, Javelin). It’s a good day when the issues of Track and Field News, Powerlifting USA, National Masters news, Long String Throwers, Milo, etc. arrive! And as much as Ruth enjoys the competitive aspects, the best thing about Powerlifting and Track and Field is going to the meets where she gets to see athletes, officials, and supporters�they are some of the finest people anyone could hope to be affiliated with.

What is your role in Powerlifting?

Everything! Ruth has lifted competitively since 1978. She got he National Referees card initially from USPF in 1981, and subsequently in the ADFPA when it was formed. Since then, she became a IPF Cat II in July 1998 and an IPF Cat I in October 2003. The whole Purdue team was taught not only to lift but to give back to the sport�doing everything from helping to put on meets to refereeing to lifting and helping coach each other. Since then, Ruth has been one of the USAPL’s most consistent and fair referees. She has never won a national Open title, but she has placed 2nd four times and she has been Masters National Champion several times, and Masters World Champion in 2002.

The following is her lifting record:

Year Level WT Class Location Open Masters Comments
1979 Nationals
181
Nashua, NH
2nd
Runner up to Vicki Gagne Hembree
1980 Nationals
165
California
2nd
1980 Worlds
165
Lowell, MA
3rd
First IPF Women’s Worlds�Bev Francis won 165 lb class world competition
1981 Nationals
165
West Lafayette, IN
5th
Became USPF National Referee
1982 Nationals
148
Alabama
5th
1983 Nationals
165
165
Chicago � USPF
Boston � ADFPA
4th
2nd
1984 Nationals
165
181
Texas � USPF
Indianapolis � ADFPA
5th
2nd
1985 Nationals
139
Chicago – ADFPA
5th
1986 Nationals
-
Boston- ADFPA
-
Platform manager, had ovarian cyst surgery 6 wks before competition
1987 Nationals
154
Arizona
4th
1988 Nationals
154
Chicago
1989 Nationals
154
Florida
5th
Did a Bodybuilding show two weeks after!!
1990 Nationals
154
Indianapolis
4th
1991 Nationals
154
Chicago
4th
1992 Nationals San Ramon, CA Did not go..schedule conflict
1993 Nationals
176
New York
5th
1994 Nationals
154
Nebraska
1995 Nationals
154
St Louis
4th
1st
1996 Nationals
154
Wilkes-Barre
4th
1st
1997 Nationals
154
Lincoln, NB
4th
2nd
1998 Nationals
165
Seattle,WA � USAPL
4th
1st
Qualified for world masters, did not go
Became IPF CatII Referee
1999 Nationals
Worlds
75 kg.
HVY
Lincoln, NB
Sun City, South Africa
4th
2nd
4th
2000 Nationals
Worlds
67.5
HVY
Killeen, TX
Usti Nad Labem, CZ
5th
1st
6th
Before Masters went to weight classes, had light, mid and heavy divisions
2001 Nationals
Worlds
67.5
67.5
Ft Wayne, IN
5th
1st
2002 Nationals
Worlds
67.5
Chicago, IL
Argentina
4th
1st
1st
2003 Nationals
Worlds
67.5
Killeen, TX
Regina, Canada
3rd
1st
3rd
Became IPF Cat I
2004 Nationals
67.5
Omaha, NB

Ruth has never bombed in a meet! Ruth has also coached several lifters (including Annette Bohach and Sue Hallen). She supports the world teams by coaching, refereeing and lifting.

Ruth also has been on the Women’s Committee since its inception with the ADFPA. She has been an athletes’ rep for the main ADFPA governing body.

What are your titles/best lifts?

Masters World Gold in 2002, Silver in 2001 and Bronze in 2003.

Best Lifts:
Squat: 363 lbs at 165 bodyweight (mid ’80s)
Bench: 187 lbs.
Deadlift 385 lbs. (1984).
Best Total: 903 Lbs. (1984).

What is the most memorable Powerlifting Event?

Seeing Jan Todd go from the Superheavy weight class to the 148 Lb Weight Class and pull a 475 LB Deadlift at the 2983 Nationals in Chicago. It was an amazing sight and the most impressive deadlift I have seen in powerlifting.

Who is your most memorable person in Powerlifting?

Pat Malone�he never said no to helping anyone�at any cost. From loaning his second car out to team members to drive to Boston, to making equipment, he was always there and trusted his team. He gave willingly from his heart to get more people involved in the sport. Pat’s Mom made the squat suits and bench shirts. Pat paid the entry fees, supplied the suits. He made the sport accessible for a lot of people that could not have done it otherwise. He supplied racks and bars for people to use at home. I owe my Powerlifting career to Pat Malone.

Stories? we have stories:

1) In January 1982, Pat supplied the equipment (squat racks, weights, belts, suits, etc.) for a meet in Columbus, Ohio. They drove out in a old school bus, four guys, three girls. Claire Tuite needed to get a qualifying total and because the loading was progressive, Ruth and Dodi went to lift to give her more time between lifts. On Saturday night, they loaded the bus and headed to Purdue�snowy. cold, bad weather�.fuel line had water and froze up, doing everything to keep in running. Choice of either heat or lights, choose lights. Next day, someone drove back from Lafayette to pick them up. Pat was up for anything as usual, he had to have the bus towed back to Indiana.

2) I lost the tip of my finger on a planer making belts. Ruth was planing the sides of laminated leather belts in January 1982. She still uses two of the belts she made working for Pat. Pat Malone had a business making belts, frame equipment, bars. His mother made the suits for them.

3) If you made an elite total, Pat would make you a custom belt. Good incentive!

4) Dave Waddington dumping 960 lbs twice in the Lafayette YMCA in 1981. People not happy with strict officiating tore the sinks from the wall�not allowed to have meets there anymore!

5) Ruth was the featured athlete in “Lady Athlete” by Rick Semple back in 1979. This was a four page newsletter type format.

6) In the early 80′s, Ruth was told by a famous Powerlifting personality from Ohio “the only thing between you and world records is an added supplement regimen�under the table”� it�s a good thing she said no then and continues to say no!

Whatwould you like to be remembered for?

I am proud to say I have always lifted as a drug free athlete, even before drug testing was instituted and the federations for Powerlifting in the US split apart. I am also proud of my longevity and supporting the integrity of the sport�from refereeing to lifting to supporting the organization.

Any Words of Wisdom?

Participate in a drug free and without excessive supportive gear. Gains may not be immediate; rewards may be your own sense of satisfaction, not measured in trophies, records or championships. I stand as an example; it took 24 years for me to win a championship!
Learn sound lifting techniques and use progressive training. Don’t become too dependent on your gear. Do your homework, make sure you are doing the lifting and save the gear for the final preparation for the meet. Remember that no single training program works for everyone. Be open to different ideas yet stay with something through a full training cycle in order to determine its’ value.

Sports Background:

Ruth has been involved in competitive sports since age 12, starting with swimming and continuing in High School with Volleyball, Basketball, Swimming and Track and Field. Although they had sports programs for girls, they really did not have ‘coaches’. Swimming was the exception, sharing the pool with the boys’ team and everyone was grouped by ability and not gender…what a concept! There was no technical coaching or strength training at all in high school. In track and field, she made it to the state championships her freshman year as a shot putter, finishing 8th. She continued her qualifying for state in her sophomore and junior years running the 440 yd, the 880 yd and a relay leg in addition to putting the shot. Senior year the regionals had shot last in the meet, so after running 2 open races and the anchor leg on the 440 yd sprint medley relay, Ruth was out of gas and missed going to state in shot.

Ruth participated in the Peace Games, putting the shot and throwing the discus (competition between Indianapolis and Scarborough, Ontario, Canada).

At Purdue University Ruth was on the Swim Team and the Track and Field Team. At the time, women’s sports were AIAW (Association of American Intercollegiate Women). They did not become NCAA until the early 1980′s. Title IX had just been put into place 1972. She competed in track in shot put, discus and javelin.

After graduation, she was an assistant coach to Fred Wilt for the Purdue Track and Field Team. He was the editor of “Track Technique” and this opened up a wealth of information about the throws, training/conditioning and all other track and field events. Fred had a wealth of information from abroad (i.e: Great Britain, Australia, Russia, etc.). Ruth had also majored in Physical Education and has a masters’ degree in exercise science.

She taught at Culver Academies for 17 years. While there she coached crew, swimming and track and field. Ruth has been using plyometrics, cross training, and strength training since the mid 1970s. Her training today is a checkerboard between track and Powerlifting. She crosses over a lot on training due to the overlap in schedules of meets. Her Powerlifting training is typically 8-12 weeks containing 2-3 mesocycles. For the throws, weather is a prime concern since there is no indoor facility available. Generally, throws training is based on how proximal the next meet date is.

She is currently active in Powerlifting (open and masters), Track and Field (all the throws, masters level) and just starting Highland Games and Golf!! Ruth is a National level official in Track and Field and also coaches the throws for the local high school track team. She is a CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) through the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association). She also has a Level II USA Track and Field Coaching Certification. Ruth has also been certified instructor by Red Cross for over 25 years.

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