West Salem High sophomore raising the bar for Olympic dream

Updated: Sep. 17, 2021 at 4:18 PM PDT
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INDEPENDENCE Ore. (KPTV) - Emma Dalke is a 15-year-old sophomore at West Salem High School with a whole lot of weight on her mind, her chest, and over her head.

“I made nationals my first year in weightlifting, which some kids it takes like five years,” Dalke, said.

Emma is a natural, competing in the past two national youth championships through USA Weightlifting. The competition was online during COVID in 2020, but she competed in Detroit, Michgan this past June.

“An Olympian came up to me and told me that I was the best lifter he had seen at the competition and that if I kept with it, I would become an Olympian, that I could make it to the Olympics which is crazy. It was really cool,” Dalke, said.

Under the guidance of her spotter and coach, Ruben Martinez, Dalke is the owner of three Oregon state records and is treated like royalty by kids and adults alike at Kiowa Fitness in Independence.

“It is so amazing to me because there are kids here that say, ‘I want to be a weightlifter like Emma’, It’s so cool. I never thought that I would be such an inspiration to them but there are some kids that really want to be a weightlifter but it’s really cool for me,” she said.

Emma got her start in CrossFit by watching her grandma Jane get into weightlifting, and the family bloodline and bond gets stronger with each repetition.

Dalke’s other sport, which she hopes to eventually earn a D1 scholarship for, is in the shotput.

“It’s what I work hard at and it’s what I really want. My dream is to be an Olympian in this sport,” Dalke said.

If you have a local prep athlete in mind who deserves some recognition in the spotlight email Nick Krupke at so they can be featured on Friday Night Lights and on Good Day Oregon.