When she's sitting in an interview room recording a statement for the Internal Affairs division of the Rochester Police Department, Emily Sallome can snap through a stenographer's keyboard to the tune of 225 words per minute, but she must sit silent, unless asked to respond. 

  • RPD stenographer Emily Sallome competing to become strongest woman in America
  • Sallome is 5-foot-2 and weighs less than 130 pounds
  • She will compete at powerlifting nationals this year in Memphis

Hers is the kind of job that requires superior focus, which may explain why, when she has completed her assignment, Sallome needs to expend energy in significant, powerful bursts.

"Powerlifting just seemed to fit," said Sallome. "I never would have imagined that I could become this strong."

"This strong" is the strong it takes to snap 175 pounds over her head in the two-step clean and jerk lift, which Sallome does during some of her five-day-per-week workouts. She executes it with the speed it would take her to type a 10-word sentence. "This strong" may soon mean the strongest woman for her size in America.

Sallome will compete in the U.S. powerlifting nationals in Memphis this year. She placed fifth in her weight class in her previous meet. She will compete in the clean and jerk, as well as the snatch. 

"Some people find it boring because you’re just working on two specific lifts and your training for two specific lifts, but to me it’s 'how can I come in today and make these lifts perfect so I can hit 195 next time or 250 next time,' or whatever it may be," she said.

"Emily's very strong," said Danny Salvarote, her strength coach. "She is committed to this — the way you need to be if you're going to do this well."

The two met with other friends at a cross-fit studio in Buffalo. They and others from Buffalo came to Rochester for a Friday morning workout. 

Sallome said her experience as a gymnast built the habits of the solitary athlete; working on her own to improve each day out. It's one thing she shares with her workout partner, Kellie Schieber.

"Being a woman, I said 'why not? Why not be strong? Why not be as good as anybody else?' " Schieber said. "As a gymnast, we have explosive movements already built up in us, so it works in that way. It's good to do this as a woman. It's very empowering."

As someone who stands 5-foot-2 and weighs less than 130 pounds, Emily believes in her chances in Tennessee. She appreciates the contrasts in her passion and her job.

"Sometimes I catch myself thinking about my weights," she said with a laugh. "I love what I do, but it's completely different from weightlifting. I could potentially be one of the strongest girls in the country. It's just awesome."