Jen Buckner

Age: 37

Height/Weight Class: 5’7”, 75+kg

Current City: Albuquerque, NM

Gym: Train with Joaquin Chavez in Albuquerque, NM

Coach Olympic Weightlifting class at Crossfit Albuquerque

Occupation: Diabetes Clinical Manager for Medtronic Diabetes, Registered Nurse 

PRs: Snatch – 92k, C&J – 116k, Total – 208k

I was a dancer from the age of 3 and stopped when I turned 13. I then was a cheerleader in high school at La Cueva. I attended Colorado State University where I walked on to the track team and threw the hammer. In my senior year at CSU, I met the assistant strength and conditioning coach at UNM (Joaquin Chavez) while home visiting my family on Christmas break. He asked what I was planning to do when I was done with my eligibility in T&F. I could not have responded quicker, “Definitely, not throwing.” He then said I would be really good at Olympic Weightlifting and had the body type. By the end of the week, I was training with his team and falling in love with the sport. I remember in my first week he gave me a VHS tape of the women’s sessions at the 2000 Olympics and I loved watching Tara Knott and Cheryl Haworth win the gold and bronze in their specific weight classes. It was awesome. One month later, Joaquin had me compete in my first Olympic Weightlifting meet and I qualified for the American Open that year in Savannah, GA. I have not looked back since. It has been a roller coaster rider but I cannot imagine my life without it.

In my career I have competed at over 75 meets local, nationally, and internationally. When looking at the national and international level, I have competed at 13 American Open Championships, 12 National Championships, 3 University National Championships, 2 Pan American Masters Championships, 1 Masters World Cup, 11 NM State Games, 3 Arizona State Games, 3 Rocky Mountain State Games, 1 Kansas State Games, and 1 Games of the West. I am the current US national record holder in the snatch, clean & jerk, and total for the Masters 75+ class, 35-39yo age group. I am the Master’s Pan American record holder in the clean & jerk and the total. I am the 2006 and 2007 University National Champion. I won the bronze medal at the 2009 National Championships, the bronze medal at the 2010 National Championships, the bronze medal in the snatch at the 2013 National Championships, the bronze medal in the snatch & total at the 2014 American Open Championships, the gold medal at the Pan American Masters Championships in 2014 and 2015, and finally the gold medal at the Masters World Cup in 2015. I also was awarded the New Mexico Games Female Athlete of the Year in 2014 as well as the National Congress of State Games Female Athlete of the Year in 2014.

My approach to training and competing has definitely changed over the years. I definitely am serious and focused but I also try to have fun. I find when I am too stressed and focused on numbers, my training is in the shambles. I become a head case. I have realized with my years of competing that if I let my coach worry about the weights and medaling, I can focus and make anything that is placed before me. I try to go to meets with the attitude of “I’ve trained, I’ve prepared, It’s my time to put it all out there. I can’t do much else but get the job done.