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National champion hopes to make U.S. Olympic team

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National champion hopes to make U.S. Olympic team

Ali Ludwig warming up her shoulders before her training session. Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

Ali Ludwig warming up her shoulders before her training session. Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

Ali Ludwig warming up her shoulders before her training session. Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

Ali Ludwig warming up her shoulders before her training session. Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

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Two chalk covered hands grasp the barbell. Her hands calloused from hours of repetitions.

Her head is in perfect alignment with her shoulders and back, several voices can be heard in the background shouting words of encouragement.

She lifts her head up and then the room goes silent, the bar starts to ascend slowly off the ground until it reaches the middle of her thighs.

In a flash of raw power and speed, she throws bar over her head while descending into full squat then exploding into a full standing position holding the bar overhead completing the Olympic lift known as the snatch.

“I love snatching in training, but I definitely feel more comfortable clean and jerking in competition,” said Ali Ludwig.

Ali Ludwig 25, is the first ever National Champion in the 90 kg weight class in sport of Olympic Weightlifting.

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Coach Juan Martinez helps keeps Ali loose in between sets. Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

Ludwig played volleyball at Peninsula High in Rolling Hills Estates, CA and even competed in the Junior Olympics for volleyball. In 2012 Ali discovered crossfit after being “burnt out on volleyball” and fell in love with it.

“I liked that you were kind of pushing each other, so it’s kind of that competitive aspect that I was missing in the gym.” Ludwig said.

Fast forward three years and Ali was discovered by Sean Waxman 48, after seeing a video if her working out. “I was impressed with how she moved, her size and how coordinated she was,” said Waxman, “her work ethic, athletic ability and her focus are not unique but it’s what elite level athletes possess, she has those intangibles”

Ludwig’s love for Olympic lifting has even spread to her friends. Karla Silva 22, server met Ludwig at the same crossfit gym.

“She actually inspired me to come to this (Waxman’s) gym and do the same thing as her,” Silva said,”Before I never thought that I could do it, I always thought nah I’m too little for this.”

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Coach Sean Waxman overlooking Ali's warmup routine. Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

At El Camino, Ludwig plans to major in Kinesiology and Psychology.

“I plan on most likely getting my Masters in Clinical Psychology, that is if I decide not to pursue Sports Psychology,” Ludwig said.

She plans to increase her workload after the World Championships.

“The semester is ending right around this competition, so I didn’t want to be like bombarded with like, if I were to take chem (Chemistry) or like Anantomy,” said Ludwig.

Next month Ludwig will be competing in Anaheim, CA at the 2017 IWF World Weightlifting Championships for an opportunity at potentially earning spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

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Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

“I mean if that were happen, I just feel like that would be like the pinnacle of all of this put together,” Ludwig said.

You can follow Ali Ludwig’s journey on her instagram: @aliannludwig

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National champion hopes to make U.S. Olympic team