Danna Snow’s quarter-century love affair with powerlifting is reciprocal.
Snow was inducted to the USA Powerlifting Hall of Fame during the organization’s national championships in Daytona Beach, Florida, in June. The announcement originally was made in 2020, but her induction was delayed a year by the pandemic.
“It’s great,” she said. “Being part of the hall of fame is not just because of my success as a lifter but also because of my contribution for women in powerlifting.”
Snow serves as the Washington state chairperson coordinating events and growing the sport across the state, and she is the state chair committee chair for USA Powerlifting, providing guidance to each state’s chairperson. Snow also created United Ladies of Iron competitions enlisting women from nearly a dozen states to participate.
“I do enjoy it,” she said. “Being a people person helps. My sort of philosophy on management or leadership is that I don’t have all the answers. But as a team let’s work together and problem solve. I want to hear from everybody, and then we can talk through things.”
Snow’s first foray into powerlifting was a bench press competition in 1997.
“I was working in a job (law enforcement) where it was mostly men, and one of the guys knew I was really into bench pressing,” she said, noting her history as a rugby player and short-lived aspirations to be a bodybuilder. “He just convinced me to try it out. … I convinced him to show me how, and he showed me the ropes. I said, ‘Sure, I’ll go do it with you.’ ”
Snow said the meet was held in a high school gym in Spokane Valley.
“It wasn’t a lot of people there,” she said. “There were spectators around, but there were no chairs for people to sit. It was probably 30 or so competitors. Two women and the rest were men.”
Snow acclimated quickly, she said.
“Even back then the guys were really supportive, and everyone was cheering for you, encouraging you,” she said. “It was just a real great camaraderie and environment. I always liked lifting weights and being strong, and that’s an addictive feeling. And it felt great to be able to see what I was capable of doing.
“I was just starting. The possibilities were endless at that point.”
Oh, if she only knew. Snow didn’t walk into that gym with any idea she would be a hall of famer in the sport someday. Her powerlifting exploits would feature inclusions on U.S. national teams and competitions around the world.
Among her individual accomplishments was a second-place finish at the International Powerlifting Federation World Masters Women’s Championships in Tallinn, Estonia, in 2016. Competing in the 57-kilogram weight class, she squatted, benched and dead lifted a total of 390 kilograms, a career best.
Asked what made her a proficient lifter, she said, “I’m pretty consistent, pretty predictable, and I don’t take a lot of risks.”
Snow, who moved to Spokane in 1995, said she suffered a spinal compression injury playing rugby while living previously in Moscow, Idaho, and left the condition unresolved for the next five years. Nerve pain extended into her hands, and she required surgery that fused two vertebrae in her neck.
Massage therapy was an important component of her rehabilitation, she said. It was so beneficial, in fact, it convinced her to chart a new career. Snow has owned and operated The Body Clinic, 3022 E. 57th Ave., for 21 years providing therapeutic massages treating muscle spasms, post-surgery joint replacements, chronic headaches and back injuries.
Snow has navigated COVID-19 shutdowns and regulations as a massage therapist and as an event coordinator for USA Powerlifting. She is especially eager to host more United Ladies of Iron meets. Women compete locally in 11 states, and the results are combined and tabulated in real time to award top-three finishers overall and in each state.
“Next year we’ll start up again,” Snow said. “I love getting women involved in powerlifting. I’ve seen it change lives, change teenage girls’ lives. Your attitude and confidence level really changes. You can watch them transform. It’s an amazing thing.
“That’s what the hall of fame recognition is all about. To be recognized for that, I can’t even put it into words.”
Now 51, with her time increasingly devoted to work, Snow still gets in the gym often.
“Powerlifting is a huge part of my life, and it’s what we do for fun,” she said. “Even as I mature in my 50s, I still see some progress. Not as much as when I was younger, but it’s still fun to see that we can be strong in our 50s – and almost keep up with the young ones.”
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