Melanie Roach, a mother of three and wife of a Washington State House of Representatives legislator, will be awarded the Dick Hannula Female Amateur Athlete of the Year Award for 2009. Born Dec. 14, 1974, this Bonney Lake, WA resident has gained worldwide attention in the sport of weight lifting.
Roach is a seven-time United States national champion, a five-time U.S. World Team Member, and the only U.S. woman to clean/jerk double her body weight. She set a new world standard in the clean/jerk in the 53kgs weight class by lifting an astounding 113 kgs.
Melanie's extreme commitment to all aspects of her life serves as motivation and a model for people everywhere. After setting her sights on competing in the 2000 Olympics, Roach suffered a herniated disk two months before the Games and failed to make the team.
In spite of being forced to leave the sport after her injury, Roach never lost the desire to compete. She began a comeback in 2005, but the back pain was unbearable. In 2006, Roach underwent a microdiscectomy, having three bone fragments that had been pressing on the herniated disk removed from her back. After the surgery, she won her seventh U.S. National Championship and returned to the form of a decade earlier, when she clean/jerked twice her body weight.
Melanie returned to the medal podium by winning the bronze medal at the 2007 Pan American Championships in Brazil. Roach made is past the Olympic Trials and qualified for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Roach then lifted 83 kg in the snatch, a new personal record, 110 kg in the clean & jerk, and a total of 193 kg, for a new personal and American record. She placed 6th out of 9.
Roach has said that her five-year-old son Drew gives her the inspiration to train and compete at this stage in her life. Drew was diagnosed in 2005 with autism.