Jane Black has set numerous Master's National and World records in weightlifting, and in the process has shattered the stereotype of the "frail vegan." In 1983, she met John Coffee, a gym owner interested in establishing a women's Olympic weightlifting team to participate in national competitions. The first women's weightlifting nationals had been held the previous year. Jane passed Joe's screening test and three months later competed in her first national meet. At the age of 31, she placed 5th, and her team won the women's title.
Jane became a vegan in 1990. She had been open to the idea, and was further influenced by her girlfriend, Stephanie Miller, an animal artist who has been vegan for more than 25 years. Jane says that, "… for me, reading literature on the dairy industry produced more disgust than killing an animal outright. To me, the dairy industry, coupled with the veal industry, is one of the most embarrassing things human beings participate in." She expresses a great love for animals and shares her home with her best friend Colleene, a 10-year-old tri-colored collie. Jane believes, "If I am anything of worth for this earth, it is to be nice to other animals."
Of her many Master's National and World records Jane explains, "Since the official weight categories have been changed a couple of times, the world records I hold can never be broken … The last time I competed in the Master's World Weightlifting Championships, in Canada in 1996, I won my class and received the Best Lifter trophy for my age group, 40-44." Her personal record competitive lifts are a 65 kilo (143 lb.) snatch and an 82.5 kilo (181½ lb.) clean and jerk. At 47, Jane hopes to go to Glasgow, Scotland to compete in the Master's Weight-lifting World Championships. Jane continues, "I am currently ranked as number one on the US Women's National Team. I plan to do well, and I hope, set records and win a best lifter award. As my heritage is Scottish, I have always dreamed of going there, and this seems like a perfect reason." (Unfortunately, she suffered a back injury in mid-June and it was unclear at press time if she would be able to compete.)