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Ga., Aug. 21. She then sealed a trip to nationals in a competition held at RPM in November. Bentley said had advice for girls looking to get out of their comfort zone. “If someone tries to tear you down and make you stop, don’t listen to them,” she said. “Keep doing it. You might find that you really love it, and don’t want to stop.” Amanda said she is proud of the strength — both mental and physical — that Maddie displays. “I always prayed that my girls would be confident and strong. I just didn’t have (weightlifting) in mind necessarily,” she said with a laugh. “We encourage her that even though this is something unique and not a lot of people do it, if it’s something she’s passionate about, that’s the main thing.” While the national title is her next goal, Maddie said weightlifting gives her the self-reliance to dream big and achieve bigger. “It gives me confidence,” she said. “It’s just a really good feeling to know you’re lifting probably more than what half the boys in your grade weigh. I really want to go to the Olympics, probably 2020 is my goal. Right now, I’m trying to win Nationals.” l CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: In addition to weightlifting, Bentley enjoys theater, show choir and cheerleading. Bentley said her trainers, Duston Daugherty (left) and Chase Prime kept her encouraged when she was bullied.
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