Dear Members, 
 
Firstly, my apologies that this “From the Desk Of…” is somewhat later than usual. 

July at USA Weightlifting was dominated by hosting the 2017 Pan American Championships and American Open Series 2 in Miami. The event was a qualification event for the 2019 Pan American Games in Peru. Together with the 2018 Pan Am Championships, the points we acquired here determine how many athletes we can send to the Pan Am Games.
 
Team USA delivered. We broke our medal count in both our male and female teams (12 each) and going into the 2018 event, our Men are ranked 2nd in the Continent while our Women are ranked 4th. We need to be in the Top 3 teams to send a full allocation of athletes so we have a great opportunity to do so with a good performance in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic next year. Colin Burns (94kg, Monument, CO - Ronin Weightlifting Club), Caine Wilkes (+105kg, Matthews, NC – Little League Weightlifting) and Sarah Robles (+90kg, Houston, TX – Team Houston) won Pan American Championships while we saw stellar medal winning performances from Mattie Rogers (69kg, Orlando, FL – Florida Elite), Caitlin Hogan (53kg, Los Angeles, CA – Waxman’s Gym), Kathleen Winters (48kg, Bozeman, MT – Team Montana), Alyssa Ritchey (48kg, Fort Collins, CO – Team Juggernaut), Angelo Bianco (77kg, Las Vegas, NV – Average Broz), Wes Kitts (105kg, San Ramon, CA – California Strength), D’Angelo Osorio (105kg, Vallejo, CA – Hassle Free Barbell) and Harrison Maurus (77kg, Auburn, WA – Alpha Strength & Conditioning).
 
Sarah Robles has been nominated by the USOC for Female Athlete of the Month for her performance at the Championship. In June, CJ Cummings (69kg, Beaufort, SC – Team Savannah) won USOC Male Athlete of the Month for his Junior World Championship win – your vote made the difference.
                                                                                                                                             
I cannot go on without mentioning the super-human efforts of Team Soul Miami (led by Danny Lopez-Calleja and Vanessa Florido), together with our USA Weightlifting staff and Technical Officials (especially Competition Secretary, Joanna Jones), to put on the Pan Ams and American Open Series 2. We cannot put on these events for our members without this critical individuals, thank you.
 
A personal highlight for me was watching the cooperation of our team especially between the athlete, personal coach and our team coaching staff of Pyrros Dimas and Mike Gattone. We significantly improved our make/miss ratio from the last quad with this process. I highly encourage athletes and coaches to continue to work closely with our team, we are here to help and support you. As well as myself you can reach out to Associate ED for Sport Lance Williams (lance.williams@usaweightlifting.org) or Lorene Halford (lorene.halford@usaweightlifting.org).
 
The American Open Series 2 saw athletes of all ages compete with some highlight performances from Youth American Record breaker Olivia Chardon (48kg, Stuart FL – Epidemic Weightlifting), Donovan Ford (105kg, Monterey CA – Hassle Free Barbell) and the return of 2016 Olympian Morghan King (53kg, Phoenix AZ – Unattached). Speaking of Olympians, the same weekend saw an exciting return to the platform for 2016 Olympian Jenny Arthur (Colorado Springs, CO – Unattached) who competed at the Rocky Mountain State Games in the 90kg category.
 
In July we also took steps to protect our athletes from abuse – you can read about those requirements here. I cannot emphasize how important this subject is in sport. Athletes need to know when they step into a Weightlifting gym that is a safe environment for them, and parents need to be able to trust the coaches whom they entrust with their children. SafeSport also covers physical and sexual abuse amongst adults. You can read more about SafeSport at www.safesport.org and, if you need to, make a report (including anonymously) to the US Center for SafeSport at the same website. 

Another critical area off the platform for our sport is our constant fight against Doping. I truly believe we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to rectify this cancer in our sport. Through July 13, so far we have completed 221 Out-of-Competition tests, and tested 9 competitions with our partners at the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). We also have partnered with USADA to offer education at 6 events, inclusive of the Pan American Championships and you can now take that online through the WebPoint membership system. Late August we will welcome the visit of the IWF Anti-Doping Commission to Colorado Springs regarding the 2017 IWF World Championships in Anaheim, California, USA. We look forward to working with our colleagues at the IWF and USADA to ensure results that can be trusted in Anaheim. If you know anything about doping issues (domestic or international), you can report those to the Play Clean Tip Line – playclean@usada.org or the IWF Anti Doping Commission here.
 
We published our 2016 IRS Form 990 in July, this form shows our tax return to the IRS in 2016 and is an obligation to publish of a non-profit organization. You can also view our current operating budget updated each quarter online, so you know exactly where your dollars go.
 
USA Weightlifting continues to look for innovative ways to grow the sport, if you have an idea you want to share please do reach out to me personally. No idea is too big or too small – this is a sporting community and we must work together.
 
As kids go back to school this month, our coaches need to continue to recruit young talented athletes into our sport. Coaches, reach out to your local sports programs to recruit. Tell them about the lucrative stipend program you can now earn in Weightlifting and the college scholarships that can be earned in this sport. I am also happy to share that USA Weightlifting will be developing our own scholarship program for talented athletes who have represented the USA on the Youth World Championships team. To continue to improve as a nation, we must continue to recruit talent.
 
I also send my congratulations to our friends at CrossFit and Rogue who put on an amazing show in Madison at the CrossFit Games. Weightlifting featured heavily, with a 1RM Snatch competed at the CrossFit Games highlighted by Youth American Record holder Taylor Babb (63kg, Memphis, TN – Unattached). Athletes who have represented the USA featured prominently with Mat Fraser (85kg, Essex Junction, VT – Team Vermont – IWF Junior World Team) winning the Men’s Competition, while Kaela Stephano (53kg, Boca Raton, FL – Florida Elite) - Youth American Record holder) won the 16-17 Women’s Competition with other highlight performances from Shelby Neal (58kg, Wake Forest, NC – Red Dog CrossFit), Lauren Fisher (63kg, San Diego, CA – Invictus Athlete Weightlifting), Romy Gold (63kg, Newtown, CT – RedZone Weightlifting), Steve Swistak (94kg, Ossining, NY – East Coast Gold), Carson Culpepper (58kg, Tipp, OH – Practice CrossFit) and Mayra Drabicki (+69kg, Henderson, NV – CrossFit Henderson Barbell) all putting on a show in Madison. We look forward to their return to the Weightlifting platform.
 
At the office, we were sad to say good bye to Tamas Feher who returned to his native Hungary due to family issues and we thank Tamas for his service to USA Weightlifting, but we are excited to welcome Kelsey Kennedy to our staff. Kelsey has a media background, joining us from NBC affiliate KOAA 5, and will be working with Mike Gattone and Michael Conroy together with the review groups on our Coaching Education materials. She will also be providing some further marketing support in this area as well as at our events.. We also welcome Avery Marzolf as our Membership Specialist, Avery joins us part time from the UCCS Sports Management program and his role is designed to provide increased customer service response to our members.
 
As always, thank you to our sponsors. We continue to work with unique relationships like Renaissance Periodization without whose cooperation, our athletes would not have the nutrition guidance critical to our Pan Am Championships performance. You’ll also see brand new Rogue equipment coming to the AO Series 3, where we will exclusively begin to use Rogue equipment at the Platform.
 
August brings a short break from competition, but we’ll see you all at the American Open Series 3 in Grand Rapids, MI in September, remember to register by August 17th at 2PM Mountain time.

Phil Andrews
Phil.Andrews@USAWeightlifting.org