|Scot and Maricelle Mendelson|
With several international and American bench press records and championships, the powerlifting community considers them the world’s strongest family.
Its matriarch is Filipina Maricelle Garcia Mendelson.
The 38-year-old Mendelson started her career as a fighter. She started lifting weights, and by benching over 400 pounds, she has won three world championships.
“I did it for stress release and I wanted it to help me focus. And through it, I decided I didn’t realize how strong I was I always knew I was strong. I always knew I was strong as a kid but as I did it I realized I’m really close to taking all the records,” Mendelson, a mother of three, recalled.
An occupational therapist by trade, she met her husband, “The World’s Strongest Man” Scot Mendelson while he was training. The Jewish-American from New York owns several world powerlifting records and bench presses over a thousand pounds.
Together they own FIT Gym, where they train other athletes, including their three children.
Catching up to mom is 15-year-old Jade, who owns the teenage bench press record with a 242-pound lift.
Just like mom, Jade is training in mixed martial arts as she lifts weights.
“It’s pretty cool. It’s kind of like having superheroes for parents,” Jade said.
"I told her, she better be stronger than me. That's the goal," Mendelson said.
Despite not seeing many minorities in powerlifting events, Mendelson believes Filipinos can excel in the sport.
"It's an awesome sport for Filipinos to get involved in," she said.