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Pulling Her Weight And More

The sport of weight lifting always has been a man's world - big, broad, and burly.

But now tiny Melanie Kosoff of Sumner, Washington, is turning that world upside down, reports CBS News Correspondent Bill Whitaker. She's the great American hope for the 2000 Olympics, where women lifters will compete for the first time.

The five-foot-tall powerhouse has muscled herself to the top of her game. She can lift twice her weight (116 pounds) without breaking into a sweat.

"Every day I come in, and every day I want to do more," says Kosoff. "I don't care that it's a big weight. I don't care that no one else has done it."

In fact, no other woman has done it. At the recent U.S. weightlifting nationals, Kosoff stunned the crowd and surpassed the world record for her weight, cleanly jerking 250 pounds.

Kosoff started lifting only three years ago to keep fit, and three years is a blink of an eye in weightlifting circles.

"My job isÂ…to prepare as well as I can for each competition," says Kosoff.

And she does, lifting three and a half tons a week and putting a new face on the sport.

"Obviously, she's a very attractive girl," says Lyn Jones, U.S. Olympic women's coach. "That's the first thing that will hit you. Maybe that's chauvinisticÂ… When they see a little, dinky 110-pound, very attractive girl who can lift world's records, this, we hope, is going to change people's perception of the sport."

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