Julie Isbill

Thrivher Achievements:

Commonwealth Games 2018 Gold Medal for the 75 kilo class in Weightlifting

Thrivher Dive

Current position: International weightlifter/ CrossFit coach / Growth and Development Officer for the Victorian Weightlifting Association in Australia.

I can’t you start the day without? I love a good cup of coffee. I absolutely love it.

Best read of all time: Kelly Holmes’ autobiography.

Because: She’s a double Olympic champion from Athens 2004. She ran the 800 meters and the 1500 meters. I found her book really inspiring because she’d had so many setbacks and these moments in her career when she didn’t think she could achieve and she felt like quitting. It was kind of a bit of an eye-opener in terms of the level of perseverance you need in order to achieve your goals and to be successful.

Favorite quote: “Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

Top music: The Pretender by Foo Fighters

Non-negotiable that you block time out for regularly? Chill time. Having zero responsibilities for a couple of hours each day. Very simple, just chilling.

I’m most afraid of: Spiders.

Go-to for fun:I like food a lot so trying out new food places and I like watching a new film.


Right now you’re fulfilling a vision and a mission. Looking back, where did this all stem from?

As a young child my Mum used to take me down to an athletics track to have fun running and jumping, which I loved and throughout school I was always involved in athletics - I just knew I wanted to be a top athlete. I was a pole vaulter to begin with – I didn’t start weightlifting until I was eighteen. I did one weightlifting competition at that time and my coach said to me, “Well, you could go to the Commonwealth Games”. I wasn’t sure what to make of that at the time - I didn’t know whether he really meant it. As the weeks went on, I stopped enjoying pole vault, but I was quite good at weightlifting and I really enjoyed it, so I just decided to change sports and give it a go. Within about two years, I had qualified for my first Commonwealth Games!

Changing sports was a real eye-opener for me and I haven’t looked back since! I always knew I wanted to be a top athlete, it was just a question of finding the right sport for me. I loved it all and I would try every sport and join every team. When I tried weightlifting I realised this was where I really had potential to make it to the top.

I always knew I wanted to be a top athlete, it was just a question of finding the right sport for me.

How did that evolve over time and how was your first experience at the Commonwealth Games?

Not a great experience, to be honest. I only just managed to get in into the team, and when I got there - it was in Delhi in 2010 - I became quite ill in the Athlete’s Village and lost about three kilos of body weight, which wasn’t fun. Combined with it being my first international competition, it was a disaster and I was devastated - I honestly thought I’d never to do it again. It wasn’t just getting ill that affected my performance, I was also very nervous and inexperienced. But you learn by your mistakes and that really was a huge learning experience for me. I now view that whole chapter as the start of my journey.

How did you come back from that disappointment, to find your love for the sport again?

I had a few days of tears and trying to forget about it, but then I went home and reassessed where I was and started a new program. I knew I still wanted to pursue weightlifting and I wanted to aim for these competitions, but I also knew that I was still very naive and only at the start of my weightlifting career. It was still very new to me, I just wanted to improve my skills and my confidence in competitive situations. I entered a few smaller competitions, to increase my experience and get used to being on the platform in front of everyone and that definitely helped. I did my first European Championships in 2012 and that was a great experience.