By Bobby Bryant, Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Before we can tell you exactly what Darlington resident Stacy Burr did, we need to explain a couple of things.
The first thing is the Arnold Weightlifting Championships that were held in Columbus, Ohio, Feb. 28-March 3. It was part of an enormous sports event featuring 22,000 athletes taking part in 80 competitions.
The second thing is the Wilks score, also known as the Wilks Coefficient or the Wilks Formula. It was created, not surprisingly, by a man named Wilks.
It’s a hellishly complex equation that measures the strength of a powerlifter against other powerlifters, regardless of how much they might weigh.
At the Arnold competitions, the 27-year-old Burr achieved what the powerlifting world calls “the highest all-time Wilks score.”
That means, basically, that pound for pound, she is the strongest person in the world right now.
If there is someone stronger, he or she hasn’t competed in events where strength can be measured exactly.
Not Wonder Woman strong. She can’t lift a tank. But she could definitely lift the men driving the tank. If she wanted to show off, which she doesn’t.
Burr says she doesn’t do tricks.
She just competes.
At the Columbus competition, Burr achieved a 565-pound squat, a 320-pound bench press and a 550-pound deadlift.
In all, that gave her what the website BarBend called “an absolutely monstrous” total of 1,435 pounds. That led to the stellar Wilks score.
And now that she’s achieved what she sought, she plans to “retire” from powerlifting to focus on training others and public speaking. Burr, a Coker College graduate, also plans to move from Darlington, which she’s always called home, to Summerville or Florida.
Here’s what she told us in an interview:
Q. As it stands right now, based on the Wilks score you achieved, you are now the strongest woman in the world for your height (5 feet 3) and weight (148 pounds)?
A. I’m the strongest male or female, with the highest Wilks total that’s ever been done in the history of powerlifting.
Q. There may be somebody stronger … but they haven’t been measured by the Wilks score?
A. (If so,) they don’t compete, so if they don’t compete, they don’t exist.
… I’m the No. 1 (as measured by Wilks).
Q. How did you do that?
A. A lot of hard work.
A lot of hard work over a long, long period of time.
I’ve been working out probably for about 15 years … and I’ve been powerlifting for five years competitively.
I’ve always known that I was different. I’ve always known that I was willing to work harder.
I’ve always known that I would win.
I just didn’t know how long it would take me.
My first goal was to win an all-time world record … that you are the best, say, 148-pound lifter, which is (the class) I lift in. …
When I accomplished that in 2017, I was like, you know what, I’m not even in the same race with these people … I’m just different all around.
So if I got that, what’s next? … I want to be named the best of anybody, the best of all there is. … So 2017, I got my first all-time world record, and I’ve … upped that world record several times since then.
And then (earlier this month at the Columbus events), I was named the strongest pound-for-pound powerlifter on the planet. … That’s what I decided I was going to do, and that’s what I did. …
I set up every factor in my life to make sure that it happened. … I’ve done all kinds of things.
I’ve measured my food out for the past five years.
I’ve told people, no, I can’t hang out because I have to go to bed at 10 o’clock.
I go to bed at the same time every day.
I eat the same thing every day.
I train the same way every single day. …
I did everything in my power to (achieve) it, and so it happened.
What my plan is for now, I’m working on my public speaking. I’m working on my Champion Mindset seminars that I give. …
People in Darlington — powerlifting is not really a predominant sport. Weightlifting, especially as a female, it’s a little bit more frowned upon, you know, especially in the South. … I don’t fit the right mold.
So I got a lot of negative response from it. I’ve never really been super-appreciated in Darlington. …
If you’re extraordinary, you’re not the normal, and people like the normal. … So I had to spread my reach. I spread my reach outside of Darlington, and here’s where I’m at now.
They said I was crazy then, now they want to know how I did it.
Q. If you had to explain this to someone who knew nothing about it, and explain what you accomplished, how would you do it? How would you phrase it?
A. Strongest pound-for-pound powerlifter on the planet. … That’s what I am currently.