Story by Crystal Farris
Idaho Army National Guard
Idaho Army National Guardsman 1st Lt. Juanita “Christie” Goodrich’s road to fitness started in 2014 with a hankering for a mocha coffee, but also a desire to get in shape. She decided to run for the coffee instead of drive. The coffee-runs became a daily routine, motivating her to first run nine miles, then 12 and finally 20.
“At some point, I cut out the coffee part and was just straight running,” said Goodrich. “Or I’d grab a water at the coffee shop and keep running.”
Those runs were a defining moment in her life that eventually led her to become the athlete she is today and a six-time Idaho state championship winner in Olympic weightlifting.
However, it was only after developing shin splints that Goodrich found her passion in CrossFit and later Olympic lifting. Being homeschooled, she had never participated in competitive sports while growing up. CrossFit and Olympic lifting gave her an outlet, she said, to express her competitive side and make up for lost time.
“I had never done anything like that before but from the moment I entered the CrossFit gym I fell in love,” said Goodrich. “Pushing myself, going from being in the bottom of the group to the first one done with the workout of the day, was so much fun. I couldn’t get enough.”
While attending CrossFit, Goodrich learned about Olympic weightlifting. The sport involves two lifts, the snatch and the clean-and-jerk, which both require the athlete to lift a weighted barbell above their head in either one or two motions.
The lifts are difficult and require time to develop appropriate technique, Goodrich said, which is the part she enjoys most. She began training for competitions in 2017 and has since set multiple Idaho state records for the sport in her weight division.
“When I started doing those lifts and movements, I just loved them,” said Goodrich. “They are so technical and it takes so much time to learn, but it’s really fun competing and I’ve done well, so why not continue?”
In 2017, she took home first-place in the 53 kilogram (approximately 116 pound) weight division, setting state records for the snatch by lifting 69 kilograms and 84 kilograms in the clean-and-jerk. She also set the record for the total of both events by lifting a combined weight of 153 kilograms, winning overall best female lifter at the 2017 Idaho State Weightlifting Championships.
After taking a break from competing to have her first child, Goodrich returned to weightlifting in May. She competed again in August, setting the Idaho state records in the 49 kilogram weight class for the snatch, clean-and-jerk and the total, lifting 62 kilograms for the snatch, 75 kilograms for the clean-and-jerk and a total of 153 kilograms.
Two days later Goodrich found out she was pregnant with her second child. However, not ready to slow down, she competed again in October at the 2019 Idaho State Weightlifting Championships, where she took home best female lifter for the second time.
“I didn’t hit the numbers I have in the past,” said Goodrich. “But I’m pregnant and still got best female lifter, so I’m happy with my results.”
Her goal is to one day compete in a national-level event. Goodrich said having children has only postponed that goal, not changed it. She has qualified to compete in nationals twice and plans to qualify again after having her second child.
“I’ll always be pushing toward that goal because I want to have something my kids can be proud of me for and to show them what can be accomplished with hard work.”