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ASL Interview with Kim Bergman

This is an interview with Kim Bergman conducted on April 14, 1998

ASL: First off, I would like to thank you for granting American Strength Legends this interview.

ASL: Would you care to share with us some statistical and biographical information (date of birth, your best lifts (Squat, bench, deadlift, total, body weight, body height, push press, clean and jerk, snatch etc,), educational background, are you married?, do you have kids?)

Kim: Date of birth: January 2, 1965. I am 5'8" tall. The best lifts that I have listed below were done at a body weight of 174 pounds.
Best Lifts in the gym:
Squat 475
Bench 250
Deadlift 505
Total 1230

Best Lifts in a meet:
Squat 455
Bench 240
Deadlift 475
Total 1170

The squat and deadlift are my best lifts. I have had a little trouble with my shoulder, which I feel has held me back on my bench. My plans are to work diligently on my bench press this year to bring it up to par.

EDUCATION: I have degrees in Biology and Psychology from Athens State college in Alabama.

FAMILY: I am married to Kramer Bergman. We have been married for 5 years (6-20-93). Kramer is a bodybuilder/powerlifter, and also played college football. He is a very influential person to me. Kramer is the most determined and motivated individual that I have ever met, and I gain a lot of internal strength and motivation from him. He has been very supportive in my lifting, even putting his own on hold to push me forward. We do not yet have children, but I certainly haven't ruled out the possibility. I have a few more things that I would like to do in powerlifting first.

ASL: Are you a professional powerlifter or do you have a business or job also?

Kim: I am not a professional powerlifter. I work full time as a teacher/counselor. My husband and I own a fitness club called KRAMER'S GYM. He works there full time, and I work there part time. I'm not exactly sure what it means to be a "professional" powerlifter, but I am always open to accepting sponsors!!! That would make the lifting part much easier!!!

ASL: Where you always as strong as you are now? When did you start lifting and competing? Did you play any sports as a kid or in college?

Kim: I have always been strong for a girl. I grew up mostly around boys, and learned to hold my own very early! I didn't really realize how strong I was until I started powerlifting 2 years ago. I have lifted weights since I was a senior in high school. I did it mostly because my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, ran the gym. That's were we ended up most of the time, even on dates!!! I lifted for fun, and to stay in shape, and even did a few bodybuilding competitions. I did pretty well back then, because the women were just not as big as they are now. I only weighed a little more than 120 lbs. I won several local and small competitions, but didn't really have that much muscle!! I was just in good shape. I guess the best competition that I won was the COLLEGIATE MS. ALABAMA in 1988.
I have always done something competitive or active through out my life. I was a competitive swimmer when I was a kid. This was something that I took very serious! When it was time for practice, I was always there! I came early and stayed late! I guess that's were I get a lot of my work ethic now in powerlifting! I haven't missed a workout in over 2 years...sick or not!!
When I was in college, I did some bodybuilding as I mentioned earlier, but I was also a cheerleader.
I went to watch my husband compete in a powerlifting meet 2 years ago this past February. It was the first meet that I had ever seen. I watched the women very closely. I decided right then, that I wanted to be a powerlifter. I went back to the gym with a new found passion. This was 2 yeas ago, and I haven't looked back since. When I started, my maxes were 220-120-220. As you can see, my strength came up quite fast!!

ASL: Who were your heroes/idols when you were growing up?

Kim: I have always admired people with muscle! I watched Arnold with admiration. I would sit up late at night and watch the Strong Man competitions when Bill Kazmaier was competing. As far as the women, I have always admired Cory Everson. She brought muscle and beauty together for me. I have always enjoyed watching the women on American Gladiators also! I guess that my husband has always been a hero to me....but hey, I married him!!! (We dated for 13 years before we married...)

ASL: Could you name some powerlifting accomplishments or feats of strength (e.g., ripping phone books in half) that you have done? (Please expand upon your powerlifting career because not too many people know about it)

Kim: My first powerlifting competition was just a deadlift competition that we held at our gym (June, 1996). I had only been powerlifting for 6 months. I ended up with a 370 lb deadlift at a body weight of 157. I was tickled to death!!!! I think that Kramer got more excited about it than I did. He told me that he would take me to Hawaii when I pulled a 400 lb deadlift! I don't think that he really expected me to do it so soon! (Of course, we still haven't been to Hawaii yet, and I have pulled over 500!!) This competition was all that I needed to get a fire lit under my "rear"!! I decided to train really hard and enter a full powerlifting meet the next spring. I entered the USPF Alabama State Meet the next April of 1997. I weighed in right at 160, and won the 165 lb. class and had the over all best total (using formula). I ended up with a 390 squat, 175 bench, 385 deadlift, and 950 total. This ranked me in POWERLIFTING USA's top 10 in the squat, and top 20 in the deadlift and total! I had finally reached one of my goals! I had a copy of the year before's top 20 list posted on my refrigerator and training book as a constant reminder of what I wanted to do!!
Six months later, I decided to enter the APA Nationals (September, 97) I won overall best lifter at this meet also with a 1120 total. (420 squat, 230 bench, and 470 deadlift) This was enough to rank me in the top 10 in the list straight across, with my deadlift and total being 2nd. I weighed in at 174 at this meet, so I had moved up to the 181lb weight class.
My next meet was just this past March. I won my weight class (181) in the WPA World Championships. I brought my total up 50 lbs to 1170. I ended up with a 455 squat, a 240 bench, and a 475 deadlift. I was happy, but a little disappointed that I didn't do what I knew that I could do. This just gives me a little more incentive for my next meet! I want to at least break 1200!!! And I will!!!! (Determination, you know!!)

ASL: If invited would you ever consider participating in a strong woman contest?

Kim: This is something that I have to be honest about, I have never really thought about it! But now that you mention it, it sounds quite fun!!!!

ASL: Do you have any powerlifting competitions or contests coming up?

Kim: Right now, I don't really have any set plans. I am working on my bench press. It really needs a lot of work! I would like to compete in some of the other federations also. I think that they all have a lot to offer. I have only been competing for less than 2 years, so I haven't had that much opportunity to compete in many federations.
One goal that I have is to compete in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. I have heard that they may possibly add powerlifting as a sport in 2000. That would be the ultimate!! If you have any information on anyone that I can contact, or any information of what channels that I would have to go through...please let me know!! I will be 35 then, but I think that I'm just getting better with age....stronger, anyway! Hehe!!

ASL: You told me how you just won the WPA championships in your weight class. I understand that it was only your third meet after only 2 years of training. Could you tell us more about it? What do you feel is the key to our rapid success?

Kim: I think that I pretty much covered my lifts in question #4. As far as rapid success, I think that I am blessed with God-given talent and strength along with determination. I am what some might call stubborn. When I set my mind to something, I have tunnel vision. I have focus when it comes to lifting. I wake up in the morning thinking about what my goals are for that day, and I do the same when I go to bed at night. It becomes somewhat of an obsession! When I am lifting, I go through the whole thing in my head before I ever approach the bar. In my mind, I have already done the lift, and know what to expect! My mind has already been made up that the lift will be a success! Now, whether my body says "yes" is another thing!!!! I think that a positive attitude is necessary in anything that you approach in life! I believe that if you are going to do something, you should do it right, with 110 percent effort, or don't do it at all.

ASL: Do you use supportive gear in meets?

Kim: Yes. I do use supportive gear in meets, but not to extremes. I think that some of it is necessary for safety! Especially knee wraps and belts. I also use lifting suits and bench shirts. I would also like to do some "raw" meets sometimes. I just haven't gotten around to it. I do not use lifting gear, other than wraps and belts during most of my training....only the few weeks prior to a meet.

ASL: What do you think that the future will hold for powerlifting as a sport with all the divisiveness and in-fighting?

Kim: I am not really familiar with this topic. I guess anytime that you have different federations, there will always be some kind of bickering.

ASL: Is there any message or greeting you would like to give your many, many fans out there?

Kim: I have received so much support here locally, that I can't even begin to thank everyone! We have a very close nit "family" at our gym. Every one would always show up on the days prior to my meets when they knew that I was "going heavy" to support me and motivate me. This is unbelievable! It not only prepared me to lift in front of many people, but also gave me the motivation and confidence to believe in what I was doing!

ASL: Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about you. We all wish you the very best with your career