Bearded Powerlifter Who Identified As A Woman Enters Female Event And Shatters Record

By Abdul Rafay in Sports Published On 31st March 2023
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In Canada, a bearded professional powerlifter competed in a women's competition and broke a record set by a trans lifter who was present.


Avi Silverberg, who has been Team Canada Powerlifting's head coach for more than ten years, competed in the Heroes Classic competition on Saturday in Lethbridge, Alberta, after declaring her gender as female.

In a video posted by the Independent Council on Women's Sports (ICONS), he can be seen approaching the stage while still sporting his full beard and wearing a standard men's singlet.

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He then casually bench-pressed close to 370 pounds, breaking the previous Alberta women's mark by almost 100 pounds.


Trans athlete Anne Andres, who was spotted observing Silverberg while volunteering at the competition, held the record with 275 pounds.

Andres also holds the local mark for the women's deadlift in Alberta, with a lift of 544 pounds, giving her a total of 1,245 pounds for the three lifts.

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According to ICONS, the trans lifter has won eight out of the nine contests she has entered in the women's division.

Andres waited at the edge of the platform area as Silverberg broke her mark; he later walked back on the platform.

Silverberg, according to ICONS, "mocked the discriminatory [Canadian Powerlifting Union] policy" that permits competitors to apply for events under their "gender identity and expression, rather than their sex or gender," promising "no consequences" for doing so.

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CPU’s trans policy states that an individual “should be able to participate in the gender with which they identify and not be subject to requirements for disclosure of personal information beyond those required of cisgender athletes.”

It also states: “Nor should there be any requirement for hormonal therapy or surgery.”

The union's competition registration policy, however, specifies that a competitor's “government-issued photo identification (excluding Youth lifters) must be verified during the weigh-in or equipment check, including date of birth, province, and gender at all competitions.”


It's not obvious whether Silverberg was required to or even wanted to show a government-issued ID that identified him as a woman.

CPU's leadership team and board of directors did not respond to repeated messages.

The CPU's website lists Silverberg as the vice president for Alberta among those senior members.


Interview requests were not instantly accepted by him.

Either way, according to ICONS, “what Avi so obviously points out is that policies allowing men access to women’s sports completely remove any integrity in women’s competitions.”

“It doesn’t matter how Avi expresses himself or perceives himself. He clearly does not belong in women’s sport, and neither does any other male regardless of their motivation for wanting to participate.”

The competition has not been specifically mentioned by Silverberg, a powerlifting columnist, and online coach.


But Andres responded with a string of lengthy videos in which he referred to him as "a coward and a bigot" with "malicious intent."

Nevertheless, she frankly acknowledged in one clip that "maybe my participation isn't necessarily fair — you know, there's science, whatever."

However, she claimed it was not a concern of hers because she had "transitioned almost 20 years ago" in a subsequent follow-up.

“I got surgery — I can prove without any doubt whatsoever that I have gone through every step, which means whatever governing body decides to make decisions, I will pass that test.”


“I actually care about women in sport because I AM a woman in sport,” she wrote alongside one video.

Greg Doucette, a bodybuilding influencer, was one of those who brought attention to the incident. He noted how absurd it was for a man to participate so easily in a supposedly drug-free event despite having much higher testosterone.

“I think this proves a point. If a guy can just show up and then set the … record, doesn’t that prove that it’s not fair? So how long before the powers-that-be suddenly wake up, smell the coffee and understand that if you’re born a female you’re not gonna be as powerful, as strong … as if you were born a male.”

Regarding the "unfair advantage," Doucette stated, "I'm stating facts," likening it to the advantage a woman would have if she competed in a drag queen show against men.

He stated, "To me, the solution is straightforward — we add a separate category, a new category, the trans category," stressing the importance of this in combat sports where female competitors could get injuries.