South Elgin resident referees Olympic weightlifting competitions in Tokyo

Corinne Grotenhuis is a social worker at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital

SOUTH ELGIN – A South Elgin resident and social worker with Northwestern Medicine is in Tokyo, Japan, fulfilling her dream of refereeing weightlifting competitions at the Olympics.

According to a news release from Northwestern Medicine, Corinne Grotenhuis, who works in the Emergency Department of Central DuPage Hospital, has been working toward this goal since she began weightlifting as a teen in 1981.

In the same year, she worked with her first weightlifting coach, who was an Olympian.

“He made me into his next champion,” Grotenhuis stated in the release.

Today, Grotenhuis is a 10-time master world champion.

In 2000, women’s weightlifting became an Olympic sport — the same year she tore the meniscus in her knee for the first time.

“I kept having surgery for meniscus tears, which kept pushing my goals back, and in 2013, I had a knee replacement at Central DuPage Hospital,” Grotenhuis stated.

Grotenhuis has not competed in weightlifting since her hip replacement in 2018 and is working toward competing again one day. In the last two years, she has had shoulder surgeries for both shoulders.

While recovering from her injuries, she began refereeing Olympic weightlifting and is now a Category 1 referee — the highest level and only category of referee who can officiate at the Olympics.

“If my dream of competing as an athlete in the Olympics couldn’t happen, then I wanted to be there as a referee,” Grotenhuis stated. “I had to give back to the sport that has given me so much.”

She also serves on multiple weightlifting committees in the U.S.

In addition to weightlifting, her other passion is working as a social worker at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital. Grotenhuis has worked in the Emergency Department for nine years and as a social worker for nearly three decades.