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My US Strongwoman: Shanna Gardner Competes at USS Pro Women's Worlds!

I’ve been sitting here staring at a blank document for over 30 minutes trying to figure out a way to explain why I love Strongman in a funny, witty, or grandiose way, but that’s the thing, I fell in love with Strongman because it is exactly what it appears to be. People that actually support others in reaching their goals and becoming their best selves. It’s a community of people where they will laugh at you and tell you exactly how it is whether you want to hear it or not, but also be the first to have your back and defend you when you’ve been teased or belittled. It’s a community of rowdy, somewhat vulgar, and fun loving people who are also some of the hardest working and grittiest people I know.

I struggle to talk about my feelings for Strongman without getting emotional, because on a surface level I love the sport because it is so much fun, the training, the prep, the people, the events, I love it all! But deep down Strongman holds a dear part of my heart because it saved me from myself, and not only that, but introduced me to some of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life. I mean, honestly, in what other sport would you yell to your judge that you are peeing your pants while running with a 140lb keg in your arms and the judge would yell back, “I don’t care, keep running”?! Where you can stand up from said keg medley and walk the walk of shame in wet pants with everyone congratulating you?! Or when you have a hell of a fight with the heaviest stone, personally to date, and the President of the Federation asks to compare it to the birth of your twins, while slapping you on the back congratulating you for fighting and pushing through the struggle (it was much harder by the way)?!

Preparing for USS Pro Women’s Worlds was exactly what I needed, like most, I have had challenges that made wanting to get out of bed a struggle, but Strongman is what has helped pull me through. I moved to Florida away from all my friends and family because my son has a terminal illness that requires him to be at sea level, I’m a newly single mom of young twins, working multiple jobs, and the juggling act between life responsibilities and training can be difficult. Through all of this, the Strongman community has embraced me as one of their own and having Worlds to focus on and the goals my incredible coach (Annie Gunshow) and I set (mainly to beat my personal records and not quit) kept me sane when “shit hit the fan”. Strongman is a community of people where you can be exactly who you are without shame. I am so excited to compete again, and continue to grow in this sport, I am grateful I was able to learn so much from the incredible athletes at Worlds and can’t thank all of the people enough who made the show run seamlessly.

Shanna, all of us at USS love you! Thanks for being a part of Strongwoman history!

- Your USS Team

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