The USA Weightlifting board of directors, led by USAW President Paula Aranda, has nominated Ursula Papandrea to be president of the International Weightlifting Federation. Having most recently served as the IWF’s interim president, Papandrea has also served as IWF vice president and USAW president. Papandrea served on the USAW board of directors for the maximum of three terms allowed by the organization’s governing constitution, from 2009-2020.
“USA Weightlifting continues to fully support our former president and her leadership of our international relations campaigns. Ursula’s unrelenting dedication to reforming and improving weightlifting internationally and her commitment to delivering for the athletes we serve make her the right choice to help lead our sport forward,” said Aranda.
In addition to her IWF presidency nomination, Papandrea has also been appointed USAW’s newly established International Relations Director for the quadrennial ending in 2024 and reappointed as USAW’s IWF delegate. Every four years, the USAW board of directors selects an individual to serve as the organization’s delegate to the IWF for the Olympic cycle. Papandrea was initially elected to be the IWF delegate and representative role in 2016.
“I am honored to have our board’s support and very proud to be part of an organization that respects the rules of our constitution and democratic processes,” said Papandrea. “I will continue to advocate for the principles we adhere to of good governance and clean sport as we collectively work to elevate the sport of weightlifting.”
Serving on the IWF executive board from May 2017 until October 2020, Papandrea initiated several key reform measures including the creation of a Reform and Governance Commission, a Safeguarding Policy, an Integrity Unit, and the creation of the IWF Athletes’ Commission. She additionally signed the first agreement between the IWF and the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s Anti-Doping Division, ridding the IWF of its controversial hearing panels. While in office, she worked closely with the International Testing Agency and International Olympic Committee towards strong anti-doping and governance reform.
“USA Weightlifting is proud to be at the forefront of the necessary reforms and clean sport initiatives that will ensure our sport stands as the model for Olympic sport and the values we all seek to advance. Papandrea has initiated so many of those critical reforms while in office and it’s crucial she have an opportunity to put them fully into practice,” said USAW Vice Chair Jenny Schumacher.
Papandrea has additionally been publicly supported in a joint statement by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, United States Anti-Doping Agency and United States Olympic & Paralympic Athletes’ Advisory Council.
USAW has also nominated Olympic silver medalist Kate Nye to be a member of the IWF’s Athletes’ Commission. The 2019 world champion and IWF Lifter of the Year is attempting to join the IWF’s inaugural class of its Athletes’ Commission. The commission is the result of recent reforms critical to weightlifting’s continued participation in the Olympic Games.
“Kate is the embodiment of what our sport is about. Commitment, integrity, sacrifice. She’s the perfect candidate to ensure the athlete voice is central to IWF governance going forward and I’m thrilled she’s willing to serve,” said USAW Chief Executive Officer Phil Andrews.
Additionally, USAW has nominated President Paula Aranda to serve as USAW’s candidate for IWF Development and Education Commission and its Gender Equality Commission, CEO & General Secretary Phil Andrews for the newly created Governance Commission while incumbents Dr. Kyle Pierce and Dr. Mark Lavallee MD are re-nominated for their positions on the IWF Coaching & Research and IWF Medical Committees. Joe Triolo for Technical Committee, as well as Mark House and athlete Jessica Saxon for the Legal Committee, round out the slate of U.S. nominations.
Unanimously elected as President of USA Weightlifting, Aranda currently serves on the IWF’s Development and Education Commission, as well as the Pan American Federation’s Diversity and Inclusion Commission.
Appointed CEO and General Secretary of USA Weightlifting in 2016, Andrews currently serves on the IWF’s Membership Commission, as well as the Executive Board of the Pan American Weightlifting Federation.
“I’m impressed by Paula’s excellent leadership as President of USA Weightlifting where her leadership continues to show the progress national federations can make in the right way, while Phil’s strong involvement in negotiation of the new constitution makes him a logical candidate for the Governance Commission,” said Papandrea.
The IWF will hold elections for its presidency, executive board, and various commissions on December 20-21 of this year in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.