Every single one of us has some sort of talent. Some of us can sing well and some of us are amazing athletes. While most people find out how talented they are at an older age, some people are quite young when they realize that they have a gift. Before this child could walk, her parents knew that she was special, but you’ll never guess just how special she turned out to be.In January of 1992, Varya Akulova was born in Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine. Her mother, Larisa, was a school teacher, and her father, Uri, was a retired circus performer. She was the only child, and she was dearly loved by both of her parents.
Uri truly believed that his first child was going to be a boy. In fact, he was so confident in this that he began to formulate a plan to rejoin the circus as a father-son duo act. Even though he was happy when his daughter was born, his dreams of hitting the big tent with his son were ruined. Well, at least that’s what he believed in the beginning.
You see, there is a legend that’s been passed down through the generations of the Akulova family. The legend says that the Akulova have superhuman strength that was gifted to them from God. When Varya was born, her parents began to wonder if she was blessed with the divine gift. It took only a few months for Varya’s parents to receive their answer.
By the time baby Varya reached the point where other babies were just developing their motor skills, she was able to lift herself into a fully standing position. When she was just one year old, Varya was beginning to show incredible displays of strength in her arms and hands. She was already showing signs of being a prodigy!
As soon as he realized that his daughter had such an incredible gift, Uri’s dreams of having a father-son act returned, but with a twist. Even though it wasn’t how he pictured it before Varya was born, he was even more inspired by the thought of having an act with Varya. Unfortunately, that was the only fortune that they would have to look forward to.
In 1995, when Vanya was only three years old, she joined the circus with her parents. In the beginning, Varya only performed her acrobatics and gymnastics. But it wouldn’t take long for Varya to join her father on the mainstage, continuously having to live up to the high standards that everyone had already put on the young girl.
When Varya was only five, she began to perform right next to both of her parents doing weightlifting stunts, and obviously, stealing the show. The entire time that Varya was training for the circus, she was receiving advice from her parents, who made sure that she was practicing safe lifting skills. This was especially true for her father, who was her primary trainer. Sadly, there were some things that her parents had a difficult time providing.
The economy was a disaster in Ukraine during the ‘90s, and unfortunately, the family of circus performers felt that crisis the hardest. When they weren’t traveling from show to show, they lived above a bar in a very small one-bedroom apartment. More often than not, Varya’s family had to go without the essentials, like a stove or a refrigerator, and the only bathroom they had access to was the one downstairs in the bar.
It goes without saying that living in poverty isn’t easy, but Varya was never discouraged from adhering to her strict training schedule. Despite the fact that the family was stuck on a cheap diet of noodles and bread, Varya was still able to gain an impressive amount of strength, which was by no means limited to her physical prowess.
Varya had an extremely good head on her shoulders. In spite of her unbelievably demanding training schedule and the hardships her family was experiencing at the time, Varya was still able to maintain excellent grades in school. That would be enough to make anyone collapse under the pressure, but Varya would only continue to prove how much she was capable of handling.
One night when Varya had gone downstairs to use the bathroom in the bar, two drunk guys began to harass her. Without thinking twice, Varya grabbed the two men and threw them down to the ground. For obvious reasons, they never bothered Varya again, but the incident did make her parents realize that they needed to make some changes in their lives.
The family decided it was best to move out of the small apartment above the bar, and they moved into the small stairwell of a gym. Together, Varya and her parents slept on a mattress at night and used the gym to train during the day. No matter what Varya was going through, she wouldn’t be taken down by any obstacles in her way. She continued to harness the amazing gift she was given, and by the time Varya was eight years old, she had accomplished something incredible!
At just eight years old and weighing 88 pounds, Varya set a Guinness World Record for being able to lift a whopping 220 pounds! This is the same weight as an average adult panda! That was pretty impressive for such a young child, but Varya would only continue to push past the boundaries that people set up for her.
One year after Varya earned the Guinness World record, her family was finally able to move into an apartment of their own. The new apartment not only gave Varya her very own room for the first time in her life, but it also had enough space in it for them to set up a small gym so Varya could train at home. Considering how much drive Varya had to succeed, it was obvious that there were big things in store for her.
When Varya was ten, she was already traveling to make international appearances blowing the minds of audiences by supporting the weight of both of her parents while she lay flat between two chairs. Just two years later, her father was making comments about Varya being stronger than he was. But just how strong Varya was, was far beyond anything that her father could imagine.
In 2006, when Varya was only 14, she stunned audiences when she proved that she was able to lift over 660 pounds! In case you’re wondering, that was more than 4x her own weight at the time! This unforgettable moment earned Varya a second World Guinness Record! Who was it that said that girls weren’t strong? They probably feel silly now.
Uri was her only trainer, and he learned from his father and grandfather. Her great grandfather also had the gift of strength. In 1910, he was able to carry 2,600 pounds on his back! The Akulova family may have inherited superhuman strength, but Varya became the strongest one of all. Varya went above and beyond all her parents’ expectations. Her strength was intimidating and threatening.
As a young woman, men in the crowd would often shout things to her as she performed. She would hear things like: “No man would ever marry a strong woman.” But don’t you worry for even a second about Varya’s feelings, because regardless of the haters, Varya did her thing and continued to be the strong woman that she was born to be.
So where is this powerhouse of a woman now? After being rejected from the 2012 Olympics in London because the committee thought it was going to be a problem that her father was her coach, she went on to college. As of 2018, Varya was continuing her education while working a job as none other than a physical trainer.
Some critics believe that the way Varya was raised is a bit odd or inappropriate, but when Varya looks back, she feels grateful for her unique experiences and she believes that her upbringing turned her into the strong woman she is today. Like she once said in an interview, “I [only] wish I could be bigger, really big… like my dad.”
The world’s strongest girl is now 27 years old and still has a petite frame—she’s just 5 feet tall and weighs 112 pounds, and she still has her superhuman strength and her positive attitude. Varya continues to inspire people around the world with her incredible accomplishments and world records.