NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Meet Genny Tidwell. She’s a competitive Crossfitter, Olympic weightlifter and a local.
“I’m a Nashville native,” she said. “We kind of joke there’s a secret club that we don’t tell anybody about.”
That’s not the only thing that makes her “unique.”
“I guess what I’ve had the most popularity on social media is being an Adaptive Athlete. I only have one hand so that’s my adaptiveness.”
Notice she doesn’t say impairment. That insinuates it’s something that holds her back. It’s exactly what it sounds like. She just had to adapt.
“I don’t say, “can’t.” That’s not my jam. There’s nothing I can’t do. I just figure it out.”
But she didn’t figure it out alone.
“I found this whole world on Instagram of other adaptive athletes, amazing athletes.”
The Instagram community didn’t just show her that it was possible, it showed her how to do it.
“I would look up one-armed CrossFit and see what other guys were doing with homemade gadgets. I have a bag of tricks — I call it — when I go to the gym. I have all these different attachments.”
In that bag of tricks, nothing is more important than a single piece of tape.
“For me, finding the center of the bar is critical for the balancing aspect. So we learned to put a piece of tape at the dead center of the bar, so I know where to grab it,” she said.
The tape helps with balance, but there’s nothing in that bag of tricks to make someone believe they can do it. That’s all Genny.
“That’s part of the challenge, that really kind of fired me up. How am I going to get a barbell over my head? How am I going to get 100 lbs over my head? And, just kind of embracing that challenge.”
In March, Genny became the first adaptive athlete to compete nationally at a USAW weightlifting competition. Through the competition and by using her platform on Instagram, she’s paying it forward.
“I don’t ever want anyone to feel left out or watch their life go by because they feel like they can’t do something because of a difference,” said Genny. “Let’s bust that up. I’m just me and that’s how I do things. If the byproduct is inspiring others, than I’m here for it.”
Next year, Genny hopes to be named the fittest one-armed female.
“I can perform the lifts just like anyone else. I just need a piece of tape.”