Lifting Up Women

Judy (Zimmerman) Glenney '71

Judy (Zimmerman) Glenney ’71 is a pioneer in women’s weightlifting, moving the sport to the international arena and winning along the way

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She may look petite, but Judy (Zimmerman) Glenney ’71 packs a big punch in the world of women’s weightlifting.

Glenney is considered the trailblazer who pushed the sport to allow women to compete on the worldwide stage.

In October, the International Weightlifting Federation honored Glenney at the 2013 World Championships in Wroclaw, Poland, for her three-plus decades of promoting and competing in women’s wrestling.

She won gold at the first women’s national championship in 1981 and went on to win three more women’s national championships and five Master’s National champions. Twice she took home the gold trophies at the World Master’s Championship. She also has officiated at many events, including the first Olympic women’s weightlifting event in 2000.

Glenney was always passionate about athletics, but not necessarily weightlifting.

A physical education major, she came to Pacific University after growing up in Bend, Ore. She had looked at bigger schools, but, she said, “I knew I was going to get lost,” at larger universities.

A major factor in her decision was the opportunity to participate in several sports at Pacific.

“I wanted to compete in everything,” she said. “Basketball, volleyball, track and field. If I were going to have to go to a bigger university, I would have probably had to pick just one and focus on that.”

Glenney competed in as many sports as possible with now retired athletic director Judy Sherman serving “pretty much as a mentor.”

“She was just an amazing person,” Glenney said. “She had everything I truly did admire in a person, a coach, a teacher. So encouraging … If I could be half the person she is, as a person and as a professional, I would be delighted. “She connected with us not just as athletes, but she connected with us as people, and I really admired that.”