Maryana Naumova has little in common with other girls her age, and she’s fine with that. At 12, she’s the youngest girl to ever bench 70 kilograms (154 pounds)—nearly 1.5 times her body weight.
Naumova took up powerlifting after attending one of her father’s meets—where she tried her hand at pressing an unloaded barbell, completing four reps.
She now has plans to compete at the World Powerlifting Congress World Championships in Las Vegas in November.
“When I’m holding the barbell, I feel like my body is changing,” she says. “Other girls my age are overweight and have cellulite. I want to be beautiful and strong. I want to be an example to other kids.”