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USA Weightlifting

Weightlifting Referees

Weightlifting Referees are classified into four categories:

1. USAW Local (LWC) Referee. USAW Local Referees may referee at USAW Local Competitions.

2. USAW National Referee. In addition to the above competitions, a USAW National Referee may referee at USAW National Competitions.

3. IWF Category II Referee. In addition to the above competitions, an IWF Category II Referee may referee at International Tournaments, Regional Games, and Continental Championships.

4.  IWF Category I Referee.  In addition to the above competitions, an IWF Category I Referee may referee at World Championships and the Olympic Games.   


USAW Local (LWC) Referee 

To become a Local referee, one must:

  • Be a current USAW member.
  • Attend a rules clinic conducted by USAW National (or higher) Referee.
  • Pass a written test conducted by a USAW National (or higher) Referee.
  • USAW Local Referee testing may be arranged with USAW National (or higher) Referee outside of a USAW Local Competition, at a USAW Local Competition or at a USAW National Competition.  If one would like to do this testing at a USAW National Competition, then an application must be submitted to take the USAW Local Referee Test at a USAW National Competition. Click here to print the application.
  • Upon successful completion of the above:
  • The referee who conducts and proctors the LWC referee clinic/test must send an email or fax to the National Office, specifying the date and location of the clinic, as well as the respective names, addresses and USA Weightlifting membership numbers of the people who passed the test.
  • People who pass the test, but who are not current USA Weightlifting members, will not receive the referee booklet until membership is registered/renewed.
  • Other than possible membership registration/renewal, there are no costs or fees associated with becoming a USAW Local (LWC) Referee.

USAW National Referee

To become a National Referee, one must:

  • Be a current USAW member.  
  • Be a USAW Local Referee for at least two years.
  • Referee at least three USAW Local Competitions in each of the past two years.
  • Submit an application to take the USAW National Referee Test at a USAW National Competition.
  • Attend the rules clinic provided at the USAW National Competition prior to taking the USAW National Referee Test.
  • Pass the USAW National Referee Test which consists of a written and practical examination.  

Upon successful completion of the above:

  • The referee who conducts and proctors the referee clinic/test must send an email or fax to the National Office, specifying the date and location of the clinic, as well as the respective names, addresses and USA Weightlifting membership numbers of the people who passed the test.
  • People who pass the test, but who are not current USA Weightlifting members, will not receive the referee booklet until membership is renewed.
  • The National Office will issue a USAW National Referee License/Card and USAW National Referee Patch to the successful applicant. 
  • Other than possible membership renewal, there are no costs or fees associated with becoming a USAW National Referee.

IWF Category I Referee

To become an IWF Category I Referee, one must:

  • Be a current USAW member.
  • Have been an IWF Category II Referee for at least two years as required by the IWF. 
  • Submit an application to take the IWF Category I Referee Test at a USAW National Competition.
  • Attended the rules clinic provided at the USAW National Competition prior to taking the IWF Category I Referee Test.
  • Pass the IWF Category I Referee Test which consists of a written and practical examination. 

Upon successful completion of the above:

  • The applicant must provide the payment for the cost for of an IWF Category I Referee License/Card to the USAW.  See the IWF rules for the current cost of an IWF Category I Referee License.
  • The USAW will forward this payment to the IWF; and obtain an IWF Category I Referee License for the successful applicant.  

IWF Category II Referee

To become an IWF Category II Referee, one must:

  • Be a current USAW member.  
  • Have been a USAW Referee for at least five years as required by the IWF.  This time requirement may be satisfied by being a USAW Local Referee for two years and a USAW National Referee for three years. 
  • Submit an application to take the IWF Category II Referee Test at a USAW National Competition.
  • Attend the rules clinic provided at the USAW National Competition prior to taking the IWF Category II Referee Test.
  • Pass the IWF Category II Referee Test which consists of a written and practical examination. 

Upon successful completion of the above:

  • The applicant must provide the payment for the cost of an IWF Category II Referee License/Card to the USAW.  See the IWF rules for the current cost of an IWF Category II Referee License.
  • The USAW will forward this payment to the IWF; and obtain an IWF Category II Referee License for the successful applicant.   

Validation of Referees

USAW Local (LWC) Referee

A USAW Local Referee License remains valid as long as the holder remains a current USAW member.

USAW National Referee

A USAW National Referee remains valid for an Olympic period (four years) provided that the holder remains a current USAW member.

A USAW National Referee must be renewed with the USAW every Olympic period (four years).  There are no costs or fees for the renewal of USAW National Referee License.

IWF Category I and IWF Category II Referee

An IWF Referee License must be renewed with the IWF every Olympic period (four years).  See the IWF rules for current costs and fees for the renewal of a an IWF Category I or IWF Category II Referee License.  

USAW Referee Test Application

USAW International Ref Criteria for Nomination for International Events

USAW International Ref Application for International Event Nomination

IWF Technical Officials-Roles and Responsibilities

IWF 2013-2016 Errata Rules Amendments