Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Meet the Williamsburg deputy — and his family — breaking powerlifting world records

Knight Smith stands in the hallway outside the Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court room Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Outside of work, Smith powerlifts. In November, he broke a bench press world record. (WYDaily/Sarah Fearing)
Knight Smith stands in the hallway outside the Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court room Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Outside of work, Smith powerlifts. In November, he broke a bench press world record. (WYDaily/Sarah Fearing)

Master Deputy Knight Smith’s voice echoes around the courtroom when he speaks.

“Court will come to order, all rise,” Smith says in a booming voice as the judge enters the room. “You may be seated.”

Smith, 57, has been a deputy at the Williamsburg-James City Courthouse for nearly 20 years, but that’s just his day job. After work, he teams up with his brother, father, sister-in-law and friends to work out at the James City County Recreation Center.

Last month, Smith and a group of family and friends trekked to York, Pennsylvania, where the group broke numerous world records at the International Powerlifting Association National Powerlifting and Bench Press Championships Nov. 17 and 18.

“It was sort of a fairy tale the way it worked out,” Smith said. “Dad — I was just thrilled with pops.”

Smith’s father, brother and sister-in-law — 83-year-old Jodie Smith, Kimber Smith and Abra Smith — each broke bench press world records for their respective weight class and age group.

Smith’s friends, Williamsburg Police officer Jeremy and his wife Christina Elston, also participated.

Christina Elston, a William & Mary dispatcher, took home seven world records.

“She originally took about a two-year break from powerlifting,” Jeremy Elston said of his wife. “She decided to give it another run… She did a good job. She was real pleased.”

Here are the records the group broke:

  • Jodie Smith: Bench press 145 pounds in the 80- to 84-year-old age group, 165-pound weight class.
  • Kimber Smith: Bench press 215 pounds in the 60- to 64-year-old age group, 148-pound weight class.
  • Abra Smith: Bench press 105 pounds in the 60- to 64-year old female age group, 148-pound weight class.
  • Knight Smith: Bench press 420 pounds in the 55- to 59-year-old age group, 242-pound weight class.
  • Jeremy Elston: No new record broken, but holds bench press 410-pound world record for the IPA World Pro Raw Police Division.
  • Christina Elston: Multiple records set for the 198-pound female weight class for the IPA World Record Pro Police Division and Amateur Raw Police. In Pro Police, she set world records for squat, bench press, deadlift and total weight. For Amateur Police, she set squat, bench press and deadlift world records.

It’s not the first time the crew has broken records. Last year, Jeremy Elston and Knight and Kimber Smith attended the IPA Nationals; all three men broke records.

Family matters

While breaking world records is exciting for Smith, the best part of the competition was having his family and close friends there to break records together.

“I think they’re the real heroes,” he said.

The feeling of camaraderie is unmatched, he added. 

Knight Smith got back into powerlifting in 2014. The group has primarily consisted of Kimber Smith, a Williamsburg-area Realtor, and Jeremy Elston, but it has since gained interest from other family members.

“It was definitely a special experience,” Jeremy Elston said. “It’s a little different than when it’s a team or just friends you got together. It’s really a special moment when you see a family member doing well at those meets.”

Aging gracefully

Jodie Smith, 83, began training for the powerlifting competition in July after years of considering joining the family hobby.

“For me, believe it or not, at 83 it was exciting,” he said of the competition.

Jodie Smith played sports in high school and lifted weights for fun in his early 30s, but gave it up after a hiatal hernia started giving him trouble. In more recent years, he also experienced joint pain, which has subsided since he began taking different vitamins. The hernia has also not bothered him since he began lifting.

“I’m going to compete as long as I can,” he said. “I really feel that strongly about it.”

Now, Jodie Smith plans to continue training two times a week for next year’s competitions and walking two miles every day.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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