After winning second place in 2018 at the Official Strongman Games (OSG): World’s Strongest Woman masters class competition, Western High School math teacher Jessica Rush decided she would train to come out on top this year — and she did.
Even with the bumps in the road this year between being a wife, a mother, and a teacher, Rush was able to train her hardest to accomplish her ultimate goal of winning the 2019 OSG in her division, made up of women ages 40 and older. Earlier this month, Rush competed in Daytona Beach, Fla., against 17 other women from multiple countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Finland, Norway, Canada, Brazil, and Sweden.
“It’s just really cool to see people all over the world compete,” Rush said. “… I placed first amongst amazing women all over the world that were all trying to place first. I think probably the reason I like this also, Official Strongman Games, is because of the caliber of women. The women there were helpful. Even though we were competing against each other, we still want everyone to do their best. It’s just fun.”
Unlike powerlifting competitions where participants compete in bench, deadlift, and squat, OSG depends on what the promoter decides will be the events. This year, the show was three days long with two events each day, including Apollo strength Viking press, farmer’s walk, Cerberus deadlift ladder, load and drag medley, Apollo strength axle clean and press, and power stairs. Not only were the events a test of strength, but some were a test of athleticism as well.
Rush began competing in local shows in 2012 and did her first national competition in 2013. After not placing as well as she would’ve liked, Rush realized the work she would have to put in to be competitive at a national level instead of just locally. Training hard for a year, Rush went back to nationals in 2014 and placed fourth, which qualified her for the Arnold Sports Festival in 2015.
Her first year at the Arnold competition, Rush competed as a lightweight competitor, which was 140 pounds or less. She typically would stay around 150 or 155 pounds and then diet down to 140 around competition time. Following the show, Rush got a new coach after contemplating quitting. She began training to compete as a middleweight competitor, between 141 and 181 pounds.
Rush was not a top finisher at nationals in 2015, so she did not qualify for the Arnold competition again until 2017 when she placed fourth at nationals. That same year, Rush was invited to compete in the master’s class at OSG.
“I ended up in seventh,” Rush said. “… What I like about OSG, Official Strongman Games, is that they have so many countries represented. … So, it’s just really cool to see people all over the world compete.”
When she is not preparing for a competition, Rush trains four or five days a week, keeping a routine with deadlifting, strict press, front squats, and occasionally implements. She plans to attend OSG next year to compete again.
Rush thanked her family, friends, and coach for their support.