Champion weightlifter and senior citizen Willie Murphy explains what motivated her to get into shape late in life

By Drew Mackie
Updated December 03, 2014 12:45 PM

“Can’t” is a word that Willie Murphy doesn’t like to use. “I would just simply say, ‘I will try.’ That’s the way I live my life,” she explains.

But don’t think that her physique is the result of a lifelong dedication to bodybuilding: This 77-year-old grandmother from Maplewood, New York, only began lifting weights four years ago, to give herself an edge in her senior citizen track and field competition.

Today, she can lift 215 pounds, even though she only weights 105 pounds. But that’s not all. In the video, Murphy proudly tells USA Today that she can shovel her own snow, lift her own grandchildren with ease and carry her own groceries.

It helps that Murphy also has a champion’s attitude. “A lot of women that are seniors – as yet – they’re not into the powerlifting,” Murphy explains of her unusual hobby. “That makes me appear strange to a lot of people, but I can do what I do, and I’m proud of it.”