Joshua and Madeline Wu giving 'big' sister and Olympic hero Melissa a huge lift

Happy family: Madeline, Melissa and Joshua Wu.  Photo: Peter Rae
Happy family: Madeline, Melissa and Joshua Wu. Photo: Peter Rae
Heavy lifting: Melissa Wu is lifted by siblings Joshua and Madeline. Photo: Peter Rae

Heavy lifting: Melissa Wu is lifted by siblings Joshua and Madeline. Photo: Peter Rae

Champion weightlifters Joshua and Madeline Wu needed an effortless swoop to heave all 50 kilograms of their kicking and screaming sister, Melissa – who is preparing for her third Olympic campaign as a diver – high above their heads.

Had big sis been wearing all of the medals she's won since endearing herself to the Australian public as a 13-year-old who finished second at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, and then won a celebrated silver at the Beijing Olympics, the pair would have risked back strain.

The dynamic duo – Joshua is 19 and Madeline 18 – appear on course to follow Melissa's lead in chasing precious metal around the world after being selected to represent Australia at the upcoming world junior championships in Georgia.

As members of the Burwood High Performance Olympic Weightlifting Club, both siblings admitted they've never needed to look too far for the inspiration needed to lift weights most people wouldn't dare dream about.

"Mel has been a huge inspiration," Madeline said. "Being in a high-performance program – and it is obviously not at the same level as Mel – I know how hard it is to get up at 5am, or some ridiculous hour, train and then go back in the afternoon to do it again."

Joshua, who can lift 135kg over his head, said seeing Melissa's dedication drilled into him the "right stuff" that's needed to succeed.

"If the general public saw how hard people like Melissa trained they'd appreciate all athletes a lot more," he said. "If they saw the injuries – and diving isn't very kind to the body – they'd be shocked."

Joshua and Madeline tried diving as children but were more like lumps of lead than graceful swans. They transferred their energies to weightlifting and found their sporting groove.

"I wasn't like Josh and good right off the bat," Madeline said. "I've been doing it for over four years but it is only over the last two years I've picked up a bit. The biggest thing I've struggled with mentally is it's very scary to pick up something you know is heavy and don't have a massive chance of getting.

"That's been my biggest thing. Working hard and pushing yourself at training every day is easy - mentally - compared to that one moment of sold fear."

Proud sister Melissa, who adopts a protective tone when she calls her siblings "the kids", finds it is impossible to hide her pride in their achievements.

"I'm super-proud, I see the hard work they put in every day and there are those days that are tough, when they come home feeling frustrated, but it is so good to see them push through that," she said.

"We can share the tough times and we can help each other be the things we want to be. Just as importantly, we share the moments when we do well."

The three, who suffered a terrible tragedy in 2014 when their sister, Kirsten, an Australia weightlifting representative, passed away, have been working with John Novak, aka 'the Mind Doctor'. His Boomerang Effect teaches positive thoughts minimises negative energy and it has been adopted by the likes of the Canterbury Bulldogs NRL team and champion swimmer James Magnussen.

Novak describes the Wu siblings as athletes strong in spirt, character, body and mind.

"It is knowing very clearly what you have to do in [your] mind and there's no doubt you need to be positive and have self belief," he said. "But you grow into that.

"When you get to Melissa's age you are clearer about what it takes – mind, positivity and self belief and that it is about taming the emotions and having faith in the journey."

This story Joshua and Madeline Wu giving 'big' sister and Olympic hero Melissa a huge lift first appeared on Brisbane Times.