GOLD COAST, Australia - At the age of seven, after seeing someone lift weights in a movie, Maude Charron told her parents she wanted to take up the sport.
They told her she probably wouldn't be tall enough and should stick to gymnastics.
It took a few years — and a detour through circus school — but the five-foot-one Charron got her wish. And the switch in sports paid spectacular dividends Saturday when the 24-year-old from Rimouski, Que., won gold in dominating fashion in the 63-kilogram class at the Commonwealth Games.
Charron lifted a games-record 122 kilograms in the clean and jerk, erasing the mark of 121 set in 2006 by fellow Canadian Christine Girard. Charron, who had lifted 98 kilos in the snatch, also tied the total weight games record of 220 kilograms in the 63-kilo class.
The total weight record was set by Wales' Michaela Breeze in 2006.
"We wanted to break the record, so of course we put 122 kilograms on the bar," Charron said. "I did it already twice before the competition so it wasn't very risky, but I wanted it very bad."
England's Zoe Smith was second at 207 kilograms (92, 115) and South Africa's Mona Pretorius took bronze at 206 (91, 115).
Charron had a six-kilogram advantage after the snatch. And she left the other lifters to battle it out for second and third before striding out to lift 117 kilograms in the clean and jerk and assure herself of the gold. She then hoisted 122 kilograms on her second attempt for the record.
The Canadian, fifth at the 2017 World Championships when she lifted a total of 224 kilograms (102, 122), punched both hands in the air and clapped after the record lift at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre.
"It's only my third year in weightlifting, so I'm still learning and just having fun," she said.
Canadian weightlifters won four medals (two gold, two bronze) four years ago at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
As a teenager, Charron spent three years training as the Quebec Circus School in Quebec City. Videos from the period show her flying through the air, able to do backflips and somersaults with ease.
"I liked it very much," she said.
But a series of injuries ranging from a dislocated shoulder to shin splits, forced her to quit. Charron took up CrossFit training and was so good at it that she was recommended to local Olympic weightlifting coach Serge Chretien.
She combines weightlifting with college where she is studying to be a police officer.
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