Jeremy Smith was born with Dwarfism, but he hasn't let that slow him down from dominating life, especially in the weight room. One peep at his Instagram (@jsmith_fitness) and you'll not only be wowed by his talents, but you'll also be inspired how he's overcoming the hand he's been dealt.
We talked with Jeremy about his early life, how he got into weightlifting, and much more.
KC: As a kid, how active were you in sports? Were you limited at all due to your dwarfism?
JS: I was very active in sports starting at a young age in sports like soccer, flag football, and baseball were some of the team sports that I was involved in. I got to be apart of the team and feel like one of the guys. The sport I really loved was wrestling. I started back in second grade when my dad pushed me to try the sport. At first, I absolutely sucked at it, I cried a lot and just hated it. I always thought "Why am I putting myself through this?" At the time, I was not winning, but I kept coming back to practice because I just loved practicing as odd as that sounds. Eventually, I saw success at the start of middle school when I was wrestling at 75lbs, but funny enough, I didn't even weight that much. I was 70 lbs soaking wet. I fell in love with the sport and stuck with it all the way through of high school.
KC: Taking one look at your Instagram, it's obvious that you don't let your dwarfism hold you back. How long have you had that mindset?
JS: This mindset wasn’t just something I adopted, it was how I was raised. My mom and dad always held me to the highest standards. If I was unable to do something it wasn’t “oh it is okay Jeremy its because you’re a dwarf don’t worry about it.” For me, it was more like “Find a way to get it done, your excuses are not relevant.” I have the life of a dwarf, that’s not going to change. If I were to give up at such a young age and say "oh it will change later down the line" - that’s not how it's going to work. It's not like I'm just going to wake up and be 6’2 and not have any problems. This is my life.
KC: As a high school wrestler, how did an individual sport like that shape you as a person?
JS: Wrestling has shaped me to become a better man. I was blessed to have a coach who was really tough on us to become better men. He taught us that no one gets anywhere in this sport unless you're elite. He made it clear that the guys in our room were not at that elite caliber. Don’t get me wrong, we had some really tough wrestlers who were state qualifiers, but even those guys were not going to make a living in this sport. He made us realize that this sport is one day going to end in life and always ingrained in us that school always came first. No matter if you were the best or the worst on the team, school should be our priority. Other things that wrestling taught me were work ethic, dedication, nutrition, and passion for training.
KC: When did your love for weightlifting start?
JS: I really didn’t start weightlifting until my senior year of high school. For the first three years of my high school wrestling career, I was wrestling behind one of the best wrestlers to come through our high school. Once he graduated, I was the next in line for that spot. Once that became a reality, I started putting on muscle mass. I was determined to not to be the smallest in the county mass wise. From there it just blew up and I fell in love with it, and never turning back since.
KC: Which weightlifting accomplishment are you most proud of thus far?
JS: I think I would have to say winning the World Dwarf Games Bench Press Only Gold Medal for the United States at 56kg.
KC: Do you have any goals for 2019?
JS: My goals for 2019 are to compete more often in both power-lifting and strongman events. While at the same time be able to raise my total and continue to inspire more people.
KC: What does Kill the Quit mean to you?
JS: Kill the quit means that you don’t give up no matter what the situation. You work with what you have to become better in life no matter how bad it may get. The sun will rise again tomorrow, so don’t quit.