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Senior Weightlifter Jill Storelli Ties Deadlift World Record at Broyhill Wellness Center

Care for some free advice? Never bet against 72-year-old weightlifter, Jill Storelli. After years of training at the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center in Boone, NC, Storelli recently tied the deadlifting world record for her age group at 230 pounds. A feat she hopes will inspire others to never give up.

Jill Storelli ties world deadlifting record with personal trainer Michael Darling at her side.

The second oldest of seven siblings, Storelli was raised to know the importance of trust and compromise. Two traits that were put to the test one weekend when she came home from college to discover that her parents had set her up on a blind date. Begrudgingly, she agreed to go out with Sergio, who after their first dinner, dance, kiss and date proposed. Six months later the couple married and today they are approaching their 53rd wedding anniversary.

Over the years, the Storelli’s were blessed with four children and 10 grandchildren. However, their journey was not without challenges. At the tender age of 34, Storelli was diagnosed with uterine cancer. To make matters worse, around the same time she suffered from an unrelated nerve injury in her neck that caused her unbearable hip and back pain. She was shocked when her doctor recommended an unexpected remedy, weight training.

Jill Storelli ties world deadlifting record with personal trainer Michael Darling at her side.
Jill Storelli ties world deadlifting record with personal trainer Michael Darling at her side.

“I was surprised when my doctor suggested weight training because at the time the only thing I could do to avoid constant discomfort from my nerve pain was to literally crawl around the house,” said Storelli. “I was told that weight training would strengthen all of my muscles and help maintain my balance and bone density. Somehow raising a family took precedence so I put off his advice about exercising.”

Several years later, the family decided to move from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. to Valle Crucis, NC. Not long after their arrival in the High Country, Storelli was delighted to discover the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. It was there that she met Fitness Instructor, Michael Darling, and the two bonded quickly. Storelli felt fortunate to find such a knowledgeable trainer that was right for her. Thanks to Darling’s instruction, Storelli soon noticed significant improvement in her functionality and confidence. Eight years later, the dynamic duo is stronger than ever.

“Michael is my kindred spirit,” said Storelli. “We are often criticized for talking too much between sets, but that is what happens when you establish such a transformative relationship with someone. Michael has met all of my kids and grandkids, he feels like a part of the family.”

Recently, after Storelli progressed so well in deadlifting, Darling decided to look up the world record for her age category. After planting the seed, there was no turning back. Darling prescribed a 12-week program designed to help her reach the world record goal of 230 pounds. After months of hard work, however, Storelli narrowly missed the mark by maxing out at 225 pounds. When asked if she was content with “almost”, the 38 year cancer survivor said that she wanted to start the training program over again the following week. With Darling’s support, she persevered and met her goal 12-weeks later.

“My grandkids often tease me about weightlifting and my new world record,” said Storelli with a grin. “Every now and then they will tell me about their friend’s grandmothers who spend their time baking or doing needlepoint. I just smile and remind them that we all have different goals in life, none better or worse than others, but the important thing to remember is to never give up.”

When asked what’s next, the world champion weightlifter smiled and said, “To break another world record, of course.” A goal she will continue to work toward with Michael Darling at her side.

To learn more about the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center visit http://wellness.apprhs.org/. For more information about Appalachian Regional Healthcare System visit https://apprhs.org/.