Olympic weightlifter in Lakeland sets sights on world championship

Image 1 of 6

It escaped her once.  Now she is chasing her dream for a second time.

Grisela Rivera is one of the top Olympic weightlifters in the state, and she just set her goal even higher. Rivera is training to go to a world championship competition in New Zealand.

At this point in her life, she isn't going to let anything stand in her way.You see the weights and you think they would be impossible to lift, but Rivera does it anyway.

She concentrates, her muscles tense, then the 37-year-old Lakeland woman flings 205 pound straight above her head with a clean and jerk.

"Me and the bar, and no one else," she told FOX 13 News as she took a breather at Gold's Gym in Winter Haven on Friday.

Her strength, skill and dedication have made her one of Florida's top Olympic Weightlifters. Not content with that title, though, Rivera is raising more than one kind of bar.

She wants to compete on an international level in New Zealand in April, and hoping social media will help her and her trainer get there. Rivera trains 2-3 hours a day. A big-time commitment.

It is just one responsibility of many on her daily bucket list. She also has been working full-time in real estate, and going to graduate school full-time for a degree in mental health counseling. As if that's not more than enough, Rivera is also a single mom to young sons, Gabriel, 9, and Big Mike, 4.

She gets extra motivation to keep trying, no matter what, from Gabriel who has autism, seizures and ADHD.

"I have to serve as a reminder to him that you can do is you really put your mind to it," Rivera commented.