May 1, 2017

Dear Members: 

It is impossible not to start with CJ Cummings (Team Savannah – Beaufort, SC), Harrison Maurus (Alpha Strength & Conditioning – Auburn, WA), Kuinini Manumua (Hasslefree Barbell – San Francisco, CA) and the 2017 IWF Youth World Team. Not only did Harrison & CJ, for the first time in decades, deliver two World Champions in the same competition and set two World Records (you can view them – HERE), the team qualified the USA for the Youth Olympic Games for the first time. The team, who had a make/miss ratio over 70% for the first time for any international team this decade, qualified 1 female and 2 male quotas for 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. Unfortunately the IOC limits each nation to a total of 75 participants for all sports, so it is unlikely we will be able to actually compete with 2 male athletes. At this time the USOC hasguaranteed us to be able to use at least one. We’ll wait on how other sports do in their qualification series if we can use the second quota. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for Selection Procedures for the Youth Olympic Games.

I must also highlight the American Record total performance of Athena Schrijver (Myles Ahead Weightlifting – San Rafael, CA) who took attempts to lock in 4th place, sacrificing her shot at a World medal to ensure our team made it to Buenos Aires 2018. It is also time to take two minutes to thank the Personal Coaches Ray Jones, Kevin Simons, Ben Hwa, Tyler Peacock, Dave Swanson, Jenny Lam, Shawn Nye and Team Leader, David Fleming, who made an outstanding collaborative contribution in Bangkok. Finally, the new 2017-2020 Selection system provided a 35 point start list predicted placement swing vs the 2012-2016 selection system at this event. We still need to learn more but so far, this looks to be a better way to select our teams.

The Weightlifting community is excited for the Nike USA Weightlifting National Championships, powered by Rogue Fitness, in Chicago in just a few weeks. This will be my 5th USA Weightlifting National Championships, and the weekend is always exciting. The event attracts the best in our nation, and the eyes of the Weightlifting world live on TeamUSA.org. In particular, two members of our 2016 Olympic Team will be competing – Bronze Medalist Sarah Robles and Seattle’s Morghan King who will compete in her new 53kg weight category. Every lift will be live and free online at www.usaweightlifting.org.

Meanwhile, at the conclusion, USA Weightlifting will also name our Pan American Championships team. It feels appropriate to name this time in the city where the United States last hosted the event. This time we will host in Miami, Florida this summer. We are expecting around 260 of the best athletes in the Western Hemisphere, entries are already coming in from other nations. Don’t forget that just like at the 2017 IWF World Championships, an American Open event follows immediately after the Pan American Championships. This event is also critical for Team USA since it is a qualification event for the 2019 Pan American Games. In other words, the points we achieve as a team in Miami and at the 2018 Pan American Championships determine how many athletes we may send to the 2019 Pan American Games.

We will be launching a member discount portal his coming month, while several of our Sponsors have already launched discounts in the WebPoint membership system. Login and you can take advantage of discounts from the likes of Trifecta, Nike Weightlifting and more.

Domestically in April, we had the Nike 2017 National University and National Under 25 Championship in Gainesville, FL at the University of Florida. The University allowed us to use their magnificent Arena for the competition. The competition saw the naming of our 2017 FISU Universiade team which will travel to Chinese Taipei at the end of August to compete in this multi-sport Games event.

Taylor Turner (St. Augustine, Florida – Northern Michigan University) broke one of the most longstanding records in USA Weightlifting on her way to making that team, the Snatch Junior American Record previously held by 2008 Olympian Carissa Gump. This gives me the first opportunity to celebrate Carissa’s athletic achievements. A member of staff for the last 5 years, we have come to know Carissa as a consummate professional. However, she is actually one of the best Weightlifting athletes since the turn of the century; not only attending the Olympic Games but also twice the World Championships as well as the Pan American Games and Pan American Championships. Carissa also held American Records, University American Records and Junior American Records in her outstanding career. We are looking forward to welcoming Carissa back for the first time since her retirement from competition as an outstanding athlete member rather than an employee.

May 1 marks the departure of our PAWF Junior Pan American Championships team headed to win some hardware in Guyanquil, Ecuador. The Team will be led by Steve Galvan (San Antonio, TX – 210 Weightlifting) and Coached by Dane Miller (Leesport, PA – Garage Strength), Vance Newgard (Marquette, MI – Northern Michigan University) and Spencer Arnold (Atlanta, GA – Power and Grace Performance). Our athletes are predicted to fight hard with Colombia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic and other leading Pan American Nations for medal honors inclusive of Jessie Bradley (Provo, UT – Power and Grace Performance) who will look to defend her Pan American Championship at this level. These athletes will primarily be using the opportunity to warm up for the 2017 IWF Junior World Championship in Tokyo, Japan.

May sees the launch of our Athlete Development Camp program. We welcome Regional Administrators Matthew Bergeron (Charlotte, NC) and Chandler Walker (Reno, NV) to our team on a contractor basis. Their job is to promote Weightlifting in their region, using these ADCs as a tool to recruit athletes into our sport from Multi Sport Organizations, High Schools and more. Look for more details on this subject early May about how your club or facility can get involved. In preparing for this project USA Weightlifting has met with USA Track & Field, US Soccer, USA Gymnastics, USA Field Hockey, NCAA, National Federation of High Schools and USA Rugby. Look out for some collaborative projects with our colleagues in the future.

We are also ramping up our outreach activity as we seek new ways to grow. Over 250 clubs participated in “Try Weightlifting for Free” day on Saturday April 22, and while we are still collecting feedback and waivers from those clubs a conservative estimate shows that over 1000 people tried our sport that weekend. We continue to look for ways we can assist our clubs in recruiting athletes. If you have an idea let’s talk about it. Either find me at Nationals or reach out and let’s talk!

We also appeared at the USA Gymnastics regional events. It’s well known that former Gymnasts often make excellent Weightlifting athletes. Robin Goad, Megan Seegert, Mary Peck, Harrison Maurus and Mattie Rogers just to name a few have been in Gymnastics before seeing success in Weightlifting. This outreach went well, but there is more to learn and build upon. In May, we will be at the USA Wrestling regionals and at the CrossFit Games Regionals. At the CrossFit Regionals, we’ll be running a combine with our friends at US Rowing, while the USA Wrestling outreach will lead to a combine at their National Junior Championships in Fargo, ND where we will look to establish the most athletic Wrestling athletes.

Our team has been working hard with our vendors at Webpoint to improve the user experience for our members. This month we have rolled out the ability to upload your meet results in a bulk file, while you can also register your referees online. Coming this month we will launch a project with USADA Athlete Edge and Coaches Edge so that any USA Weightlifting member can access education on Anti-Doping issues at any time day or night. This month also saw the launch of up to the minute start lists for National Events. Now you can see who’s registered the moment they enter the competition by clicking the start list link on the event page at www.usaweightlifting.org

In April, Tamas Feher completed the review of our Coaching Education materials. These will be with our instructors early this month and we will be rolling these out to members from June 1, 2017. Tamas worked with our former Director of Coaching Education, Michael Conroy, closely on the build out of these materials and we believe they take a more scientific approach to training. Please let us know your feedback as you attend the first coaching courses with our new materials.

April also saw the arrival in Colorado Springs of Pyrros Dimas. Pyrros takes up his new role as Technical Director of USA Weightlifting. Pyrros has begun work collaboratively with those involved in our performance area. Pyrros will also be at the National Championships seeking to meet with as many personal coaches and athletes as possible during that time. In May, with Pyrros now here, we will announce our times and schedules for the Youth and Junior Camps this summer.

Our Performance team has also selected the Team Leaders for the remainder of 2017. Thanking David Fleming (Pine City, NY) for an outstanding job in Bangkok, we will grow our pool this year including Cara Heads Slaughter (Arlington, VA), Jodi Stumbo (Santa Fe, NM), Leo Totten (Littlestown, PA) and Ali Cosentino (Jacksonville, FL). We appreciate these individuals for doing this very demanding job to support our athletes in nation. The job of the Team Leader is one of logistics, ensuring our Athletes and Coaches have everything they need to perform in nation.

Several important Governance items occur in the month of May. In Chicago, we will consult with the membership on our new USA Weightlifting bylaws and new code of ethics (incorporated into the bylaws). Additionally, you will be voting on a new member of the USA Weightlifting Coaching Committee. The Coaching committee has an important role in advising both the USA Weightlifting Board of Directors and Staff on matters affecting Coach Selection, Coaching Courses, Team Leader Selection and the Chair of that committee (Leo Totten) also sits on the USA Weightlifting Selection Committee. Please make sure to exercise your right to vote.

Speaking of Committees, Joe Triolo (Brooklyn, NY) took up post as the new Chair of the USA Weightlifting Technical Committee this month. The Technical Committee has opened up significant new opportunities to test for National Referee. To become a National Referee, take a look here to fill out the National Referee form. You’ll need two years as an LWC Referee and to have officiated at a significant number of local and national meets during that time. Now is a good time to recognize the outstanding contribution of Terry Grow (Cleveland, OH) who Chaired this committee for many years and was extremely active in his management of our Technical area. Thank you Terry!

Elsewhere, USA Weightlifting will put forward four immensely qualified candidates to the IWF Elections. The election series is set to be one of the closest in years. Whatever the result, we need to rally behind the elected officials as a sport. It’s vital that the IOC sees a united and refreshed International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) following these elections no matter what the result. Just as vital is that the IOC see that Weightlifting is working towards becoming a clean sport. To this end, myself and our President, Ursula Garza Papandrea will visit our colleagues at the Russian Weightlifting Federation this week, led by new President Maxim Agapitov to observe first hand the progress that the Russian Weightlifting Federation is making towards rehabilitating their program.

At the end of May, the elections will be held in Bangkok, Thailand. Ursula Garza Papandrea (Pflugerville, TX) will be standing for Vice President and Executive Board of the IWF. Meanwhile, Technical Committee Chairman Joe Triolo (Brooklyn, NY) will stand for Technical Committee of the IWF, Dr Mark Lavallee (York, PA) will be standing for the IWF Medical Committee and Dr. Kyle Pierce (Shreveport, LA) will be seeking to retain his position on the Coaching and Research Committee. Meanwhile, staff member Pyrros Dimas will be seeking to retain his spot on the IWF Executive Board, standing for the nation of Greece. Now is also a good time to recognize Dr. Richard Herrick (North Redington Beach, FL) who has represented the USA on the IWF Medical Committee for the past several years.

Thank you for reading. There is a great deal going on, and we appreciate the cooperation and contribution of our members as we move towards Tokyo 2020.

 

Phil Andrews
Phil.Andrews@USAWeightlifting.org