December 15, 1997
Woodinville woman wins two world titles
Photo by Ted Heckathorn
Claire Heckathorn at home with her 4-month old grandson Nicholas Ashton and her trophy.
Woodinville's Claire Ashton Heckathorn became a double champion at the World Association of Benchpress and Deadlifting (WABDL) meet at Portland, Oregon, November 28-30. Over 400 men and women from five continents competed in the three-day event, with foreign teams from Brazil, India and Canada. Individual lifters came from countries such as England, Ireland, Belarus, Japan, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Tonga.
Heckathorn, who already holds several state and national records, established new world marks in the bench press and deadlift, and won the trophy as the top Masters Division woman lifter in the WABDL world championships. Going into the world meet, all three major US powerlifting associations had ranked her as one of America's top lifters. In 1995, she won the AAU national championship, and in 1996, she became the North American champion in the American Drug Free Powerlifting Association, and holds the US Powerlifting Federation (USPF) American records in the bench and deadlift events.
Before her final deadlift in Portland, the audience roared with laughter when Heckathorn tried to speed up the weight loaders by telling them, "Let's get this event going. I've still got some serious Christmas shopping to do!" She then proceeded to beat her old AAU and USPF records, before heading to the Lloyd Center Mall to find something for her new grandson. Surprisingly, Woodinville's strongest woman has devoted all of her recent training to bodybuilding rather than powerlifting. "This is the first time I've picked up anything over 300 pounds in the last six months. I was really astonished to do that well at the WABDL meet," she said. The new world champion keeps fit by taking early morning walks or jogs with two of her friends and works out at the gym for about ninety minutes per day. Her other hobbies include making porcelain dolls, playing the piano and teaching homemaking skills to members of the LDS Relief Society in Woodinville.