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Statement on IWF Executive Board Action

Oct. 13, 2020, 10:55 p.m. (ET)

Members of the USA Weightlifting Board of Directors issued the following statement following action taken by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Executive Board today. 

Media contact:
Kevin Farley

October 13, 2020

Today is a dark day for Weightlifting.

On behalf of the 24,000 members of the USA Weightlifting federation, we strongly condemn the actions of the IWF Executive Board today in removing Ursula Garza Papandrea as interim president and removing Phil Andrews as the interim deputy director general. Furthermore, we are disgusted and outraged that a majority of the IWF Executive Board continues to block efforts to create real and substantive change in the areas of governance, anti-doping reform and Athlete representation.

These transparently corrupt actions serve only one purpose: rewarding and empowering nations who can only win by cheating.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has repeatedly instructed the IWF to embrace change and reform itself. Under the interim leadership of Ursula and Phil, more progress has been made towards reform than in the last 50 years under prior IWF Leadership. The IOC celebrated this progress and encouraged the IWF to continue this reform. 

But today’s outrageous actions by the IWF Executive Board threatens to undo this progress, jeopardizing Weightlifting’s place in the 2024 Olympics and beyond. Simply, without progressive, honorable leaders at the IWF, the future of Weightlifting in legitimate international competition is uncertain. 

The ideals of clean sport and fair play are under attack. It is disheartening that a majority of the IWF Executive Board wishes to set Weightlifting back to an era where cheating was celebrated and clean Athletes’ voices were silenced.

We call on other like-minded nations to vocalize their desires for complete reform at the IWF. We need to protect first and foremost the clean Athletes.
We will raise our extreme concerns to the IOC level, along with the concerns of other like-minded countries. 

We are not done fighting for our sport or clean Athletes worldwide.

Paula Aranda, Board Chair, USA Weightlifting President
Jenny Schumacher, Vice Chair, Grassroots Board Member
Travis Cooper, Elite Board Member, USOPC Athletes' Advisory Council Rep.
Cortney Batchelor, Elite Board Member
Sean Waxman, Technical Board Member
Jasha Faye, Grassroots Board Member
Lou Lauria, Independent Board Member
Nick Maietta, Independent Board Member