Competitive teen dancer becomes nationally ranked weightlifter

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Competitive teen dancer becomes nationally ranked weightlifter
WATCH: Young athletes are often encouraged to try as many sports as possible as it can help prevent burnout and injuries. For one Saskatoon teen, she's competing in two sports that seem like unlikely compliments – Jul 10, 2022

Throwing around barbells weighing more than she does is never something Bella Thompson-Hill saw herself doing.

“I just love it because it makes me feel great,” Thompson-Hill said. “It makes me feel strong.”

The 17-year-old was a lifelong competitive dancer but when she started feeling done with the sport, Thompson-Hill made the unlikely full-time switch to CrossFit and weightlifting. That was 21 months ago.

“The first two weeks were really rough for me,” Thompson-Hill. “I had never touched a barbell in my life. My hands were pretty raw.”

Thompson-Hill is part of CrossFit 306’s high-performance teen program. Once she started training consistently for 2.5 hours, four times a week, it didn’t take long for her natural talent to shine.

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“She listens attentively to all the cues and feedback we give her and she actually tries and applies it,” Thompson-Hill’s coach Jason Cain said. “She also is incredibly hard-working.”

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In just her second year in the sport, Thompson-Hill qualified for the Junior National Weightlifting Championships held in Quebec in early June.

Representing Team Saskatchewan, she entered the meet ranked first in her weight class.

“I hit 89 (kilograms) and that’s when I knew I won,” Thompson-Hill said. “I was pretty thrilled. I was like, ‘Let’s go and let’s do 92 (kilograms).’ I had more lift left and it went really well.”

Her 92-kilogram clean and jerk and 71-kilogram snatch earned her a combined score of 163.

That score was good enough for a national gold medal and provincial and national records. Thompson-Hill’s success doesn’t come as a surprise to her coach –- who was also there at nationals.

“You don’t become a Canadian champ by skipping workouts or skipping reps,” Cain said. “She does everything we assign her to do every single day she comes in.”

Thompson-Hill’s potential in weightlifting is limitless as she’s still years away from peaking in the sport and only started less than two years ago.

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She has big dreams but always reminds herself why she lifts in the first place.

“I would love to do international competitions one day,” Thompson-Hill said. “Honestly I just do it because I love it a lot.”

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