USA Weightlifting Looking to Expand Collegiate Programs

April 30, 2019, 10:26 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (April 29, 2019)-- USA Weightlifting (USAW) has approached hundreds of athletic directors of institutions affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), as it continues its efforts to grow the sport of Olympic Weightlifting on college and university campuses nationwide.

This month, USAW contacted 297 Athletic Directors around the country to gauge interest of supporting USAW’s desire to be named an emerging NAIA sport. To earn that designation, Olympic Weightlifting needs a minimum 15 club or varsity teams at NAIA-affiliated institutions. Currently eight NAIA-affiliated institutions carry club or varsity Olympic Weightlifting.

“An essential part of our mission is to grow the sport of Olympic Weightlifting in the United States,” Suzy Sanchez, USAW’s Director of Grassroots Programs and Scouting said. “We hope this outreach will show ADs around the country just how valuable Olympic Weightlifting can be to their athletic programs.”

Currently in the United States, one in three youth athletes drop out of the sport of Olympic Weightlifting by the time they reach the age of 18. These athletes typically opt for other sports that can present them with scholarships and competitions at the collegiate level.

By becoming an NAIA-emerging sport, USAW can greater interface with and retain youth athletes and USAW-affiliated coaches, by creating more scholarship and competitive opportunities at the collegiate level.

“We hope to continue to grow the sport of Weightlifting,” Sanchez said. “Once we earn the emerging sport designation, we can progress, to hopefully one day becoming an NAIA championship-level sport.”