Melanie Roach’s athletic career began as a young gymnast in Washington. Her intense work ethic took her all the way to the State High School Championships. An injury sidelined her from the competition, and soon after, rehab introduced her to free weights and a star was in the making. The petite former gymnast quickly made it clear that strong things can come in small packages.
In her first competition, the 1994 American Open, she won a bronze medal. She became the #1 ranked US weightlifter and was poised for a 2000 Olympic debut. Weeks before the Olympic Trials, Melanie suffered a serious back injury. She picked herself up and moved on, opening her own business – Roach Gymnastics, Inc. in Sumner, Wash. Her gymnastics school serves over 500 students and she and her husband now have four children.
In the summer of 2005, she returned to competitive weightlifting, and by March of 2006 she reclaimed her spot on the US National Team. She had state-of-the-art back surgery, not available years earlier when she left the sport. As a result, Melanie has competed continuously at National and World competitions. In August of 2007, Melanie won the bronze medal at the Pam Am Games in Brazil, officially marking her return to elite international weightlifting. She competed in the 2007 World Championships as well as at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where she placed 6th in the 117 lb weight class, her best finish in the international competition.
“Gymnastics set the foundation for everything I’ve accomplished in my life from being a mother of 4 to the Olympics to establishing a successful gymnastics gym. I constantly remind my coaches and staff that we are teaching more than quality gymnastics, we are teaching the value of hard work, determination, as well as the benefits of exercise and staying healthy. Because of gymnastics I attained the qualities necessary to become an Olympian. Because of my Olympic experience I learned we can accomplish anything our little hearts desire if we work hard and never give up!”