Washington State's Roach sets U.S. record at Olympics - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Washington State's Roach sets U.S. record at Olympics

BEIJING, China - Melanie Roach was planning to quit weightlifting after the Olympics, but after scoring a U.S. record and personal best on Sunday, she's not so sure.

Roach lifted a total of 193 kilograms (425.5 pounds) in the women's 53kg division on Sunday, finishing in sixth place.

"Coming into it, I was definitely retiring," the 33-year-old mother of three said. "Now that I've gotten a taste of it, I don't know, I guess I may have to negotiate a little bit with my husband."

Roach and her husband, Dan, own a gym together in Washington state. He is also running for re-election as a Republican member of the state legislature, so the family has a busy fall ahead when they get back.

"For now I'm going to focus on helping him get elected and raising our kids," Melanie Roach said. "I'm looking forward to being a mom and a wife and a business owner."

Roach said the two weeks she's spent preparing for the Olympics were the longest she's been away from her family. She got to see her husband and their oldest son, Ethan, at the Olympic village for an hour Saturday because she "needed a little-kid fix."

"That was a really important visit. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been as focused today had I had that moment with them yesterday," Roach said after Sunday's competition.

Roach was beaming with energy in each of her successful lifts in the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

She walked on to the field of play completely focused, staring intensely at the bar as she rubbed her hands with chalk. Then she adjusted her belt, gripped the bar, inhaled and pulled so hard you could see the veins pumping on her forehead.

At the end of each lift, she flashed a big smile as the audience roared in approval, Ethan included.

"I'm pretty sure I heard a 'go mom,'" Roach said.

Roach missed the 2000 Olympics in Sydney because of a back injury. She quit the sport after that to start a family, but returned to weightlifting after five years.

"I've been a pretty selfish mom and a very unselfish athlete for about three years now and it's time to put my family first. It's probably time to move on," she said.

Dan Roach said the couple would have to discuss what's next when they get back home to Bonney Lake, Wash.

"I think the future is bright for both of us," he said. Then he laughed and said his wife was on such a roll that maybe she should be running for office instead of him.

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