We’re pleased to share this story by GK member Taylor LaChapelle from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse:
“In November 2019, I was able to travel to Dubai, UAE for the Open World Powerlifting Championships. I missed a week of classes, but jetlag helped me out that week because I would wake up at 2:00 or 3:00 AM and get any schoolwork done before heading out for the day to explore the city!
“Powerlifting is a sport where athletes complete three attempts each of squat, bench press, and deadlift with the winner of each weight-class having the highest total which is the sum of the best lift from each one. I competed in the 125.6-pound weight class, and my best squat was 479.5 pounds, I finished bench press with 264.6 pounds, and my best deadlift was 435.4 pounds. This gave me a total of 1,179.5 pounds, putting me in 5th place out of all women in my weight class of all ages, and I received the silver medal for squat and deadlift.
“It was a week-long competition where different weight classes compete on certain days. I was fortunate to compete on Tuesday, so I had the rest of the week to either watch the competition or explore Dubai! My parents and boyfriend were able to join me on this trip to watch me compete, and then we all were able to tour the city together for the next few days.
“We went to the Dubai Mall (the biggest mall in the world), we got to go inside of the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world), we went on a desert safari, as well as many other things! In the desert safari, we were able to ride camels and we also went “dune bashing” where a skilled driver took us on a crazy ride through the desert. It was almost like a roller coaster, and of course I was stuck in the middle of the backseat and ended up getting carsick and throwing up! We stopped and once I felt a little steadier, we went sandboarding – which was also a lot of fun! It is basically like snowboarding, but on the sand!
My trip to Dubai was a great experience, and I am thankful that my professors at the time were supportive and flexible of my absence!”