Who’s the strongest of them all? Hopefully our own Alyce Stephenson

Photo courtesy of Gary Huntress Photography
Ipswich Hospital nurse, Alyce Stephenson is 158cm tall and weighs 50kg.
But don’t be fooled by her size.
She is all muscle.

Stephenson is in the final stages of preparation ahead of the Commonwealth Games in April, where she will represent Australia in the women’s 48kg weightlifting.

In the snatch, where competitors must lift the barbell from the ground to overhead in one motion, she aims to lift 65kg. She hopes to achieve an 85kg lift for the two-phase motion clean and jerk.

For Stephenson, the road to the Gold Coast to represent her country was not a straight one.

She thought her chance to compete in the Games was over.

“They only take the number one from the five qualifying events in 2017,” she said.

“At the end of it all, I finished number two.”

It wasn’t until just before Christmas that Stephenson received the good news.

Tegan Napper had been number one for both the 48kg and 53kg divisions.

In the end, Napper decided to compete only in the 53kg division.

“I found out just before Christmas that I was though, that Tegan had decided to compete in the 53kg. So it was the best Christmas present ever,” she said.

“It could have gone either way and I didn’t know which way it would go. I was pretty stoked because I thought it was over.

“But then, it wasn’t.”

Last year was hard because Stephenson had a knee injury to overcome and had to drop below 48kg, every time she competed.

“Cutting to that weight is not fun,” she said.

“I have a sports dietician and I slowly cut back on carbs. I eat very well generally but because I’m quite lean, to lose three kilos is quite difficult. It is what it is.

“There were times last year with my injury and missing out on being number one, that I wondered if it was worth it.

“I’m glad I kept going because I didn’t know right up until the end.

“To know now it was worth it, I’m satisfied.

“My family is so supportive. They would say ‘what do you think? It’s going to be all smooth sailing?’ And they are so right, it’s not.”

Born and raised in Ipswich, Stephenson is looking forward to her family and friends being there on the day.

“Everyone has been really supportive. The local gyms, the hospital, even random people will come up to me and wish me well,” she said.

“My focus is trying to keep myself as physically fit as possible and not push too hard and injure myself. I am starting to drop weight from this week which makes you prone to injury and sickness.

“But I’m not even worried about the weight cut this time because it’s worth it. And I’ve heard the food hall at the games is huge.

“I’m a burger person.”

Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Weightlifting facts

Venue: Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre
Tickets from: $40 (Adults)

With powerhouse legs, dynamite arms and a concrete core, these athletes are the strongmen and women of the Games.

As the barbell is lifted, fans will witness eyes bulge, cheeks puff and every muscle strain.

If the weight is held overhead, a roar of victory will signify success.

If not, it’s not panic stations – each competitor has three attempts to make a successful lift.

In each bodyweight category for men and women, the competition features both the snatch and the clean and jerk.

It is the combined weight of their best lift in both that will determine the ultimate fate and placing for each weightlifter.

The atmosphere will reach fever pitch as the competition unfolds and these super-strong athletes aim to be the strongest of them all.

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