Women’s Hall of Fame – 2021
How did you get into Powerlifting?
What is your athletic background?
When you are a High School Senior and you want to lift, what does a supportive Mom get you? A 3-month gym membership! Jennifer said she knew she wanted to lift and hooked up with a trainer who taught powerlifting. Jennifer had tested dance in elementary school and softball in high school, but, she really wanted to lift.
In 1990, Jennifer was attending the Freshman Orientation at LA Tech. After all the club and team presentations, a fellow freshman, Calvin Dial, said he was on his way to talk to meet Dr. BJ Talton, Coach of the LA Tech Powerlifting team. Who knew there was a Powerlifting team? Jennifer went with Calvin, met Dr. Talton, and joined the LA Tech Powerlifting team. 2 short years later, in 1992, Jennifer lifted in the first-ever IPF Jr. Women’s Worlds, in Sydney, Australia. The IPF used Light-weight, middle-weight, and heavy-weight to describe the weight classes.
5 years after graduating from LA Tech, Dr. Talton asked Jennifer to help coach the LA Tech Powerlifting team, at the 1999 ADFPA Collegiate Nationals, in Killeen, Texas. Jennifer became the first-ever LA Tech team member to be invited by Dr. Talton to help coach the dominating Collegiate LA Tech team. This was, indeed, a landmark event for the team as Jennifer opened the door for other team members to become an assistant coach at Collegiate Nationals.
Highlights/ Memorable events
Jennifer has competed internationally as a Junior, Open, and Master lifter. She was a 10+ National Champion, she has been on 10+ National teams and took the Bronze medal in the IPF Open Bench Press Championship.
2009 – A YEAR to remember and to forget. In mid-May, Jennifer was dealt a blow with a diagnosis of cancer. This did not stop Jennifer as, just 2 weeks later, she competed at the IPF World Bench Press Championship in Luxembourg. On her return to the US, Jennifer had surgery, then concurrent chemo and radiation. One month after finishing treatment, Jennifer competed in the USA Powerlifting Bench Press Nationals. She was victorious with 90 kg. that day.
2010 – the year of victory over cancer
2010 Arnold – Jennifer was invited to compete at the 2010 Arnold. This was her first big 3 lift meet after chemo and treatments. She went 7/9 on her lifts that day.
2010 Women’s Nationals –After 10 years, 38-year-old Jennifer WON the Open division, after beating cancer.
2010 IPF World Open – The roller coaster of 2009 and 2010 ended with Jennifer competing at the 2010 IPF World Open Championship in South Africa. Powerlifting is part of how Jennifer claimed victory over cancer.
Jennifer’s most recent 3 lift international Championship was the 2014 World Master’s Championship and the 2015 World Master’s Bench Press Championship. In 2015, Jennifer decided to step away from the competition platform.
A significant moment happened to Jennifer once. A male colleague asked, “Why does your hobby take so much of your time?”
Jennifer responded wonderfully by telling him, “Powerlifting is woven into the fabric of who I am as a person. Powerlifting is not a hobby. Powerlifting, an amazing and best sport in the world, has given me so much. I can’t imagine not doing it.” Jennifer says she has made lifelong friendships in her college powerlifting days, has traveled the world – from Australia to South Africa and all over Europe and is now sharing the sport with her son and those around her.
Who influenced you in powerlifting?
There are so many over the years, Jennifer didn’t want to leave anyone out, but there are 2 very special people who have greatly influenced her in life and in powerlifting. Dr. BJ Talton, the namesake of the USA Powerlifting Coach of the Year award, started her on the path of being more than a lifter with the invitation to help coach the LA Tech team at Collegiate Nationals. Jennifer says her husband & coach, Dan Gaudreau has played a huge role in her life, both on and off the platform.
Contributions in powerlifting
Just as Jennifer started as a lifter, then became a coach, Jennifer has continued to find ways to participate in her beloved powerlifting and give back to the sport and the organization. Jennifer is a Colorado Co-State Chair, an IPF Cat 2 referee, Meet Director, Athlete’s Rep, Coach, advocate for the Youth Program, and has introduced many others to the sport of powerlifting.
How would Jennifer like to be most remembered?
Jennifer says she wants to be known as someone who “has given back to the sport as much as the sport has given to me.”
Words of wisdom for future female powerlifters?
Enjoy powerlifting for everything it has to offer. It is good to have goals. The goal doesn’t always have to be “World Champion”. In fact, you don’t always have to achieve Gold medal status or be a World Champion to make an impact in the sport.
Let your goals include: Have fun, make memories, make friendships and let powerlifting help you enjoy physical and mental health.