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USA Weightlifting's Weekly Report for January 5-11, 2009

Jan. 09, 2009, 7:31 p.m. (ET)

2008 Coach of the Year Awards.  Congratulations to John Thrush who has been nominated for the USOC National Coach of the Year award.  John coached Olympic athlete Melanie Roach who had many impressive performances in 2008 including her 6 for 6 performance at the Olympic Games in Beijing. 

Congratulations also to Joe Micela, who has been nominated for the USOC Developmental Coach of the Year award.  Joe coached Alex Lee and Sarah Robles to the Junior World Championships and Sarah received a silver medal overall for her performance in Cali, Columbia. 

New High Performance Director.  USA Weightlifting would like to congratulate our new Director of High Performance and Coaching Education, Mike Gattone, who accepted the position on January 2, 2009.  This position has been mandated and funded entirely by the USOC since its inception in 2001.  Due to the travel demands of the position and proven success with other NGB's, Mike will remain in the Chicago area. 

Mike has been very involved with USA Weightlifting and is highly qualified.  We look forward to working with Mike and expect great things to come in 2009! 

A message to the membership from Mike Gattone:

It is with great humility and excitement that I accept the position of High Performance and Coaching Education Director for USA Weightlifting.  I look forward to the opportunity to serve our membership and assist the hard-working coaches and athletes that devote so much time to building our sport. 

I have been asked to tell about some of my experiences in our sport.  I have been a part of weightlifting for over 20 years and have been blessed with many opportunities that will aid me in serving our membership in this capacity.  Some of these experiences and qualifications include:

  • USAW Senior International Coach ranking
  • IWF Category II Referee
  • Personal Coach of 2000 Olympic gold Medalist, Tara Nott (Cunningham)
  • Have taken, taught, and contributed to every level of USAW Coaching Education in numerous locations nationwide (Club, Senior, Regional, Sports Performance)
  • Served on the USAW Board of Directors and the Coaching Committee.
  • Manager for the Coaching and Sports Science Division of the United States Olympic Committee
  • Member of the IWF Executive Committee.
  • Competition Director for the Weightlifting event of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games as well as the 1991 National Juniors, 1992 Olympic Trials, 1993 National Championships,  1995 Paul Anderson Memorial, 2004 National Juniors, 2007 National Championships, and the upcoming 2009 Pan American and National Championships
  • A strength coach at the professional level with the Chicago Bulls, worked personally with several professional athletes, served as a strength coach at Bradley University, and Graduate Assistant at University of Kansas.  Additionally served as Track & Field Coach at North Park University and the College of DuPage
  • A published author in several professional journals and speaker at coaching courses around the nation and world
  • Competitive weightlifter for over 10 years as well as a collegiate Track & Field athlete.

Some of the initiatives and areas I would like to work on include:

  • Encouraging the development of more open communication and interaction between our knowledgeable coaches in the field and the office of our National Governing Body. We have so many wonderfully experienced individuals working to help our sport every day, and I would like to implement initiatives to include them more.
  • Creating resources using communication tools such as the web, e-mail, and podcasts to help our coaches communicate and share successes.
  • Working on programs that will help our coaches earn income through their knowledge, experience, and hard work.
  • Using the resources of the NGB to empower grassroot programs with local coaches and officials.
  • Communicating openly and regularly with top tier athletes and coaches to ascertain needs and try to use the resources of the NGB in finding ways to serve these needs.

I look forward to working more actively with all of you! 

Please contact me in the meantime with any questions or suggestions at:

USA Weightlifting Loses a Great Coach.   Due to the reduction of OTC resident slots and associated funding by the USOC, USA Weightlifting has been forced to eliminate one of its resident coaching positions in Colorado Springs, competently filled by Bob Morris for almost 14 years.  Bob has been a great coach, father figure and mentor to many of his athletes.  This was a very difficult decision and we wish Bob well in his future endeavors

Dennis Snethen
Executive Director

Note:  In next week's weekly report, USA Weightlifting will announce the athletes that have been selected for the OTC Resident Program.

USA Weightlifting Athlete Director to be Selected.  In order to complete USA Weightlifting's new Board of Directors, one Athlete Director will be elected from a ballot comprised of athletes who meet the USOC's definition of Elite Athlete, having participated in the World Championships, Pan Am Games or Olympic Games from 1999-2008, and have not served on USA Weightlifting's Board of Directors in the last three quads.

For purposes of this election, all USA Weightlifting Elite Athletes, which includes athletes described above as well as athletes finishing in the top ½ of the National Championships in 2007 and 2008, will receive a ballot to vote for one Athlete Director.  Only athletes with current memberships as of January 20, 2009 will be eligible to vote.  This election is separate from the AAC Rep election, and will fulfill the requirement for 20% athlete representation on the USAW Board.   

Ballots will be sent out to all USA Weightlifting Elite Athletes on January 20, 2009.  All Athlete Director Election ballots must be returned directly to the USOC Audit Division and must be postmarked NO LATER THAN Friday, February 6, 2009.  From the ballots returned, the athlete with the highest number of votes will be named the Athlete Director to serve on the Board through 2010. Visit to view lists of eligible candidates and athletes eligible to vote.

Nominations for At-Large, Technical and Grassroots Directors to the USA Weightlifting Board are in, and will be reviewed by the Governance Reform Committee over the coming weeks.  The Committee expects to finalize the decisions on the Board of Directors and announce to the membership on Monday, February 16, 2009.

REMINDER:  2009 National Junior Championship Entry Form.  The 2009 National Junior Championship entry form is available online.  Please visit USA Weightlifting's homepage for more information at: entry deadline is February 24th, 2009.  No late entries will be accepted.

2009 National Junior Championships Hotel Booking Issues.  There has been some confusion at the Crowne Plaza registration sites about the rates and availability of rooms.  We hope that this has been fixed.  There ARE still rooms available in the block that was reserved for the National Juniors. In addition, there are add-on dates before the event where we can book the special rate of $109.  If you call the hotel directly for reservations, or the USA 800 number, make sure that you use the Booking Code "NJO".  You should be able to get rooms for $109 from the 16th through the 23rd of March.  If not, please call Dave Corbin at 650-823-1124.  The Web based reservation link at also has the expanded dates.

Nominees for the 2009 IWF Electoral Congress.  Please see below for USA Weightlifting's final nominations to the 2009 IWF Electoral Congress.  The following nominees have been approved by the board:

  • Dragomir Cioroslan- Executive Board
  • Dr. Richard Herrick- Medical Committee
  • Roger Sadecki- Technical Committee
  • Dr. Kyle Pierce- Scientific and Research Committee

The 2009 IWF Electoral Congress will take place March 31- April 1, 2009 in Madrid, Spain.

American Records.  USA Weightlifting needs your help!  Please note the new posted American Records in all divisions on USA Weightlifting's website.  Follow the link:  The American Standards have been replaced with the highest lifts achieved from 1998 to present in each weight class in drug tested competitions.  If you notice any errors, email Kara Yessie at: with the correction.  Please include the name of the lifter, the weight class, the date and place of the competition and the weight lifted, and she will verify the correction and make the necessary changes.

Britain's Strongest Girl:  The 14-year-old who can lift three times her own body weight.   For the complete article, please visit the following link:

Kara Yessie
USA Weightlifting
High Performance Communications Coordinator 
719 866-4508
719 866-4741 Fax

Weekly Report for January 5-11, 2009    (PDF)