Kansas Guardsman brings home kettlebell gold

By Staff Sgt. Mark Nussbaumer
Public Affairs Office

Sgt. 1st Class Kimberly Fox went to Seoul, South, Korea, in November 2017 and came home with something no other woman had ever received: a gold medal in women’s long cycle kettlebell competition from the International Union of Kettlebell Lifting.

Sgt. 1st Class Kimberly Fox displays the U.S. flag after winning the women’s long cycle kettlebell event at the International Union of Kettlebell Lifting competition in November 2017.

“The IUKL is basically the major leagues of the kettlebell world,” said Fox. “The competition is hosted in a different country each year and you must qualify to compete for your country.”

This competition was the first time that the Russian Federation IUKL has allowed women to compete at the professional level in the two-arm long cycle.

“I think it is pretty cool that a National Guardsmen from Kansas would win at a sport invented by the Russians,” said Fox.

A kettlebell is a round sports-training weight of cast iron or cast steel with a handle, somewhat resembling a cannonball. In the women’s professional kettlebell division, each kettlebell weighs approximately 53 pounds. The two-arm long cycle starts with lifting two kettlebells from the floor and swinging them to the shoulders, then raising the weights above your head, bringing them back down and swinging them between then legs before starting the whole process again,

Fox, the readiness noncommissioned officer for Company B, Recruiting and Retention Battalion, Kansas Army National Guard, took part in the IUKL 2017 World Championship Nov. 16-19, 2017, facing off against more than 400 competitors from 40 nations. Her performance of 64 repetitions clinched her the gold medal, making Fox the first woman to ever win first at the IUKL for the women’s long cycle.

Fox began her journey to kettlebell gold by training for boxing while deployed to Iraq in 2005.

“After returning home, I went to a local boxing gym to sign up, but the coach told me they don’t train girls,” said Fox. So she switched to Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu for the next few years before taking up kettlebells about eight years ago, even though she wasn’t initially she interested in them.

“They were just the newest fitness tools for ballistic training,” she said.

However, Fox found that kettlebells were helping her with other parts of her active life.

“I went from hitting a couple of home runs in a season of softball to hitting one to two per game.” Fox said. “I was really amazed that one simple addition to my training could make such a difference.”

Even though she has the gold medal, Fox doesn’t intend to retire from the sport.

“I will continue to compete until I can’t,” Fox continued. “If it is not this, then it will be something else. I think personal development is really important to happiness and satisfaction.”