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ABOVE: With help from the trainers at Godspeed Elite Sports Academy, Bentley is working her way toward competing for a national weightlifting title.

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and so they started doing the kids’ fitness program.” While fully immersed in it now, Maddie said she had her doubts at first. “The first time I did it, it made me really sore,” she said. “Then I thought, ‘Man, I’m not going to be able to do this much longer. (The RPM staff) kept encouraging me, so I kept doing it.” It wasn’t long before she realized she enjoyed it. “About two weeks later, they started teaching me how to lift,” she said. “About a week later, they started telling me I was pretty good at it, and asked me to be on the team.” Though Maddie loved the sport, she quickly began to realize not everyone around her appreciated or understood her passion. Bentley said several classmates, mostly male, began to pick on her once they found out. Amanda said there was one incident

in particular that was tough to watch as a mother. (One) day she kind of had a breakdown,” Amanda said. “She started hysterically crying. She was supposed to go to cheer practice and said ‘The kids are making fun of me about weightlifting.” Amanda said while her maternal instinct kicked in, Maddie had a simple way of putting the bullying behind her. “I was furious,” Amanda said. “She was devastated. I asked her (what she wanted me to do), and she just looked up at me and said, ‘Will you just take me to RPM?’” Maddie said insults, particularly from male classmates, were tough, but she did her best to drown out her detractors. “They said some just really mean things,” she said. “I don’t think they really understood it. I came

Shelby Living May 2014  
Shelby Living May 2014