Inspirational Woman: Jess Gordon Brown | Commonwealth Silver Medalist & GBR Senior Team Member in Olympic Weightlifting

Jess Gordon Brown

Having grown up in Harefield, I attended the local judo club down at Harefield community center where my love with competitive sports first began.

With judo being a fighting sport it was clear to my  parents, that I did not shy away from heavily male influenced sports. I later moved on to competitive gymnastics. I attended Harefield Gymnastics Academy, where I trained for 5 years and earnt multiple national and regional titles and several international medals. I was unfortunately bullied for my musculature figure throughout my time in secondary school. Being the only girl who spent the majority of their time in a strict sports environment had its pros and cons. I gained invaluable time management skills, having to fit i to my studies in-between my 20 hours of training a week. On the flip side I was ridiculed for not having a normal teenage life. No one really understood what it was like getting home from the gym at 9pm every night to then eat dinner and fit in over 2 hours of homework. I found it really tough, and I ended up having to use my lunch and break times just to finish my assignments.

I first heard about Olympic Weightlifting during my 3rd year of University. I was receiving weekly strength and conditioning sessions as a part of my sports scholarship for judo. At the time I was ranked 6th in the senior national rankings for my weight class (U52kg) with plans of getting myself onto the senior GBR training squad and then being selected for specific international competitions to help build up my international ranking.

Fast forward to 2022 and my technique is thankfully a lot better than it used to be. Four years down the line and my weightlifting career has completely blown up! I’ve just come back from competing at the Commonwealth Games where I won a silver medal. It was an absolutely incredible experience. I’m still buzzing from the atmosphere, and I still haven’t quite accepted what’s just happened. It’s something I’ve been dreaming about for a very long time and it’s really nice to see the hard work finally pay off. I’m so glad that finally after doing three different sports I found the one for me. I think I’m built for it and I’m glad I stumbled into it – a happy accident.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I am a Commonwealth Silver Medalist and GBR senior team member in Olympic Weightlifting, 2x National Acrobatic Gymnastics Champion and 2 x national medalist in Judo with over 10 years of coaching experience.

Did you ever sit down and plan your sporting career?

No it was a complete accident, I first came across the sport whilst training for Judo at my university. Since then I haven’t ever looked back.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

I have had a few injuries, my most recent one being the worst. It left me unable to walk without pain. It made me appreciate what my body is able to do and how lucky I am. Alongside this Covid and not having access to a gym. That was a huge setback, I had to train outside in the local park on a tabletop, but we made do with what we had.

Jess Gordon Brown

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Silver medal at the Commonwealth Games 2022.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

My motivation and drive to be the best I can be. I want to achieve what few have managed, I want to know what I’m still capable of!

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I have mentored students in the past through my old engineering job, to encourage more children into STEM careers.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

Get more female interested in being strong and powerful from a younger age, too many girls are told they are not skinny enough and should be pretty etc etc. There isn’t enough strong female role models advertised.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Keep on going even though the road ahead is tough. Believe in yourself more and trust the journey. Things take time so don’t try to rush them.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I’m looking to qualify for the upcoming Olympics in 2024. The first qualification event is this December in Columbia at the World Weightlifting Champs.


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