Medford woman joins world-class strongwomen
Brittany Diamond’s Instagram highlights plenty of things popular among 23-year-old women: cats, eating at Chipotle, and “pink & sparkly things.”
But the predominant theme you’ll find if you visit her social media account is far less common: the 5-foot-7-inch, 160-pound Diamond is a strongwoman, fiercely dedicated to lifting and carrying as much weight as possible.
“I have two brothers and they’re huge,” she said. “One’s 6-foot-3, 300-something pounds, and he’s like, ‘How does my little sister lift more than me?’ ”
Diamond recently placed seventh out of 17 in her weight class at the 2015 Arnold Amateur Strongman World Championship in Columbus, Ohio.
She competed in events whose very names sound bone-crunching: the dumbbell clean and press, Farmer’s Walk, yoke walk, and three different dead lifts. Diamond set personal records in all but one event.
The Farmer’s Walk meant running as fast as she could with “two implements by her side, almost like big metal suitcases,” said Eric Dawson, owner of Titan Barbell in Medford, where she trains. The yoke is a bar that goes across her back and carries two pillars, each of which holds weights. Diamond had to carry 450 pounds for 60 feet.
While she did not make it to the finals — only the top four qualified — she is determined to do so next year.
Diamond, a Gloucester native who now lives in Medford, has been an athlete since childhood. She ran track in high school and rowed at the University of Rhode Island, where she studied communications and business.
She stumbled on the website Starting Strongman her junior year of college and from there found New England Women of Strength (NEWS), a strongwoman community founded by Diamond’s now-friend Gina Melnik. NEWS was having a local competition in August 2013, and Diamond signed up for the novice division.
Melnik recalls being both “blown away” and somewhat nervous about how Diamond dove into the strongwoman world headfirst.
“Oftentimes, women — and men, for that matter — look at the weights for these contests and feel a little intimidated, but Brittany’s just gutsy,” said Melnik, who also competed at Arnold. “Not only did she excel, but she actually ended up winning the novice class.”
From there, Diamond fell in love with the sport.
With another year of school left, “I kept it in the back of my mind,” she said, “and literally as soon as I graduated, as soon as my rowing career was over, I took two days off and then I got right into training for strongman.”
She prepped for 12 weeks leading up to the Mass State Strongman contest, held last Aug. 9 at Total Performance Sports , an Everett gym where she also trains.
Two days later, she started her first post-college job.
“I was embarrassed because everyone was commenting and asking questions about the bruises all over my body,” Diamond said, “and that’s when I told them I compete in a weird sport.”
Diamond is on the marketing team at looped in , a mobile payment app geared toward college students. In August, the company got a new chief executive, John Feloni, and Diamond thought he looked familiar. It turns out he also works out at the Everett gym and had seen her compete before.
It was the people at looped in, Diamond said, who persuaded her to go to nationals, and the company even sponsored her trip to Ohio.
“Brittany’s an amazing employee,” said Feloni, a former bodybuilder. “She’s a great worker. She hooked up our ambassador program at BU, BC, and now Harvard. She’s a champion, and when she won a spot at the worlds, who else but us should sponsor her?”
She is known for being positive and enthusiastic both at work and in her training.
“I don’t know that you could have a better attitude towards anything than [she does],” said C.J. Murphy, owner of Total Performance Sports. “She’s always got a smile on her face. She’s always trying to learn and get better and get help from somebody who might know a little bit more than her, and to me, that’s the sign of a true champion.”