Once-injured Raleigh powerlifting champion clawing her way back into winning shape despite coronavirus pandemic

Sports

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Loud “clanks” ring out in a north Raleigh neighborhood but those who live on this street go about their business knowing Mattie Malone is plying her trade. In just four short years of competitive Olympic lifting, Malone has already won two state titles.

“I was suprised that I was already going to Youth Nationals in my first two years of lifting,” Malone said. “And I was really excited to see what other big competitions I would go to.”

Instead, the injury bug bit. A one-time hockey player, Malone gave up that sport due to injuries and then another setback arose. Not one, but two hip surgeries knocked her out of lifting for ten months.

“I’ve been an athlete my whole life so once I heard I had to have two hip surgeries I was terrified” Malone admitted.

One doctor said she would never be able to lift again. But Malone has come back better than ever. After winning the state title for the second time she was set to return to a national competition, only to face another roadblock. One she had no control over, the Coronavirus pandemic.

“It was so frustrating I had worked so hard coming up to the meet,” said Malone. “I worked on cutting to make my weight class and I had some big numbers I was looking forward to putting up and then hearing I couldn’t go anymore it was devastating.”

So now Malone trains for the 2020 Youth Nationals while facing yet another obstacle. Her mom, Julie, works in a hospital as a sonographer. She made the decision to live away from home for now, due to the dangers associated with the pandemic.

“It’s hard without having her here because she’s my biggest supporters in lifting,” said Malone. “Sometimes she’ll lift with me and she’ll always sit with me when I lift so having her not here has been hard to stay motivated.”

But when times get difficult, Malone can always reach back to her triumphs from injury, after all she’s had plenty of practice.

“Oh for sure I was like, why is this happening to me I got taken away from hockey because of injuries so why do I keep getting injured,” said Malone. “But I think going through those surgeries made me the lifter I am today.”

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