Donna Marts

Women’s Hall of Fame – 2019

Interview:

When did you Begin Powerlifting?
My first meet was in 2004 in Pocatello, I really had no idea what to expect but one meet and I was pretty much hooked.

What is your athletic background?
Swimming and competing in grade school, in high school I played any and every sport there was, field hockey, soccer, basketball, track, and swimming. I earned a scholarship in Track and Field at Northwestern University throwing discus and javelin.

How did you get into Powerlifting?
For my 43rd birthday, I gave myself a present of hiring a personal training since I was out of shape, overweight and in general felt like an old desk worker.
The guy I hired happened to be a professional bodybuilder who had been a powerlifter in high school. He started me with weight training and eventually taught me the three lifts of powerlifting and took me to my first meet.

First Meet Experience?
I went to I think the Idaho State Met in Pocatello, Idaho in 2004

Best Meet?
I put together my best total in 2012 at Women’s Nationals when they were held in Boise, Idaho with a 450Kg total.

Accomplishments?
Records and Titles pale in comparison to the honor of being a member of Team USA and I have been privileged to have participated on several Master’s Teams and one Open Team.  Nothing makes me prouder than to represent Team USA!

  • IPF
    • 7 IPF Masters World Champion
    • 2 IPFMasters World Championship second places
    • 1 IPF World Record – Classic Bench (sadly broken rather easily)
    • 5 IPF Masters Bench World Championship second place
    • 1 IPF Classic Master World Championship second place
    • 7th place Open World Championship as the oldest women competing in the meet
  • USA Powerlifting Nationals
    • 10 Masters National Champion
    • 1 Open National Championship
    • 1 Raw Masters Championship
    • American Record Holder M2 for bench, deadlift, and total
  • NAPF
    • 1 Master Championship

 Highlights/Memorable Events?
Two come to mind.
My first World Masters Powerlifting Championship held in the Czech Republic was my first big International meet and I was terrified. I had no clue what to expect and was like a deer in the headlights and probably would have gone down in flames if the great one, Harriet Hall hadn’t taken me under her wing and pulled me through. I probably took a few years off of Harriet’s life that day, she must have told me “sit your ass down” 100 times but it was a day I will never forget because of Harriet calmly getting me through the day.
In 2009 by some fluke and odd rotation of the universe I ended up the Open Champion so of course, I went to Open Worlds because I knew it was my one and only chance for that experience. I was the oldest woman competing and any time the sweet girls from Chinese Taipei saw me standing they would bring me a chair so I could sit down. It took me a while to figure out they were getting me a chair because that is their culture, they respect and take care of their elders which at this time and meet was me.
I came in 7th out of 11 at that meet, no idea how that happened except Larry Maile was coaching and his magic includes getting this old heifer a decent total that day.

Who influenced you in powerlifting?
I have been absolutely blessed to have the Best in my corner, Harriet Hall, Priscilla Ribic and Larry Maile. No way would I have ever stepped onto the platform without all of their help and encouragement.

Contributions in Powerlifting?
Personally, I think powerlifting gives us all so much more then we can ever give back but I try and help lifters benefit as I have by being a National Level Referee and an Athlete’s Representative. George and I travel the West to help out local meets as best we can so others can have the experiences we have been privilege to.

As your name goes down in history, what would you like to be most remembered for?
I would like to be remembered for the company I keep which is my powerlifting family especially my fellow Master’s lifters. I think lifters are unique, fun, independent people who may have a few screws loose but who always have your back and a good sense of humor.

What words of wisdom would you like to pass down to the future female powerlifters?
I can’t say I have ever been known to have much wisdom but I have a suitcase full of experiences and stories that can usually get a laugh or two.
I think what is important for all women who enter a public gym to know is you are being watched by the future of our sport. When that guy grabs your shoulder and says “lady you need to go to the machines, the squat rack is for lifters” smile or give him the look of death and take that rack with pride, get in some heavy squats even if it kills you because the future of powerlifting is watching you.
They may never say anything to you and you may never know their names but they watched you and one day it will be their turn and that’s how our sport grows.