BUTTE — If you think age matters in weightlifting, think again.

Butte’s Melissa McGregor and Joani Kieninger are pressing and pulling that stereotype out of existence, and they’re doing so fiercely.

“I don’t care if you’re 20,” McGregor said. “I want to lift heavier than you.”

There are roadblocks for lifters as they age, but the gym can provide relief.

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“I have arthritis in my knees, my hands, my neck,” Kieninger said. “Both of my doctors say, ‘Don’t quit what you’re doing.’ I can do everything in here — the lifts don’t hurt me here — it’s getting in and out of the car.”

Kieninger is a 62-year-old great grandmother and Feb. 2 marks McGregor’s 56th birthday. Both are benching upwards of 100 pounds and deadlifting more than 200 pounds for practice, thanks to some personal motivation and help from their trainer, Krissy Kraczkowsky.

“I think I push them, but I think they also push themselves because they enjoy doing this,” she said. “They come here, they give 110 percent each time.”

The ladies participated in their first official USA Powerlifting meet on Saturday and set state records in their age brackets in both the bench and the deadlift.

“They definitely inspire me to keep continuing powerlifting and I hope to be where they are when I’m their age,” Kraczkowsky added.

Kieninger and McGregor have been powerlifting for less than a year, and they plan to continue breaking records.

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