When she lifts, Beatriz Pirón always wears earrings and looks like a beauty queen. “We can do everything… and we can also do it well, and nice,” says the weightlifter as she laughs.
It is not that the 21-year-old is preparing for the runaway, although she admits she would like to be a model, it is that she likes to give it that extra beauty touch, which sometimes goes unnoticed in this sport.
That flirtation is part of the reason behind the great progress she has made in sports. “When she is on the platform she’s a warrior; she has impressive stage control, and that’s what makes her such a good weightlifter,” says William Ozuna, president of the Dominican Weightlifting Federation.
That fierceness in Pirón has led her not only to a place on the national team, but has also earned her the respect of everyone related to the sport. “No doubt about it, she’s here for the long run,” says Ozuna.
When she was just a girl, Beatriz was amazed when she saw her aunt on her mother’s side, Guillermina Candelario, compete nationally and internationally in the 48kg weightlifting category. At age 12, anxious to know the world beyond her half-island, Beatriz carefully listened to her aunt, who told her that through weightlifting it was possible to travel and see the world.
“For me it was an impressive combination. On one hand, my aunt did what she liked in sports, and on the other hand she had the opportunity to get to know different parts of the world. That was something I did not want to miss out on, that was something I wanted to do and experience firsthand,” recalls Pirón.
Nothing else needed to be said. She immediately began training in the 48kg category under Javier Domínguez in her native San Pedro de Macorís, working hard every day. “Suddenly, going to the gym and doing my routine was like eating and sleeping. It was part of my life,” she explains.
Pirón comes from a city where sports stand out above many things. It is the home of Dominican baseball players, as many call San Pedro de Macorís. It is also a region that has produced many weightlifters which include Pirón, her retired aunt, and the woman with the most appearances in Olympic Games (3), Yudelkis Contreras.
“A city known for its baseball players is now also known for its weightlifters,” Pirón says.
When she was only 17-years-old, the 4’11” young girl was part of the team of weightlifters that represented the country in the London 2012 Olympics, finishing in fifth place.
Later she conquered gold and silver in the Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz 2014. In the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, Pirón won a bronze medal with a total of 175kg in her lifts. Later, she won two gold medals and one silver at the 2016 Pan American Powerlifting Cup hosted in Cartagena, where she first competed in the 53kg category. Pirón recalled, “Although I competed against stronger women, I kept the gold medal for myself, that filled me with pride!” There with a total lift of 199kg she sealed her ticket to Rio 2016.
In Rio, she got close, very close to glory. She lifted a combined 187kg in the snatch and the clean and jerk, which led her to finish fourth, just one kilo short of the bronze medal. “I return home happy, because I duly represented my country, but not completely satisfied because I wanted a medal,” she explains.
It is a fact that for athletes like Pirón, who give it their all, it’s not easy being so close to glory and not bringing home a medal. One can almost taste it. “The truth is that at one moment, I was disappointed with myself for what happened; for being so close to winning. But I know I can do it, and this is another reason to keep going. I will never give up, and I know that in my category I can achieve great things for my country.”
Rio left Pirón with the desire for much more than an Olympic medal. She wants to be the first Dominican female athlete to win a medal in this category.
“We still don’t have a Dominican female Olympic medal winner; I want to achieve that for my country. My greatest hope is precisely that, to wave my flag high, so that my fellow Dominicans feel proud of me,” she stated.
To this day, Pirón is featured in the history of Dominican participation as the woman with the best results in an Olympic Game.
Today, at 21, she studies accounting at APEC University, and is part of the high-performance athlete platform subsidized by the CRESO program. And, by the way, she has been to England, Thailand, Peru, Guatemala, Colombia, the United States, Venezuela, Mexico, Canada and Brazil. Her aunt was right.