February 1, 2019

Dear Members,

Hope you’ve had as good a start to the year as we have!

To start with I want to thank you all for getting us over the line with our fundraising goal last year. Honestly, this year (and on the road to Tokyo 2020), our expenses are just going to keep growing. We’re going to need to raise over $250,000 as we get into Tokyo, to deliver the best possible on the ground set up for our athletes to take this once in a lifetime opportunity to make history at the Games! You can help by heading here to donate directly, or donate your spare change! Enrollment takes just 5 minutes, and when you're done, we'll round-up purchases made on your debit card to the nearest dollar and donate it to USA Weightlifting. See how your generous donations helped our athletes in 2018:

I cannot possibly go any further without addressing the recently announced 4 positives for the nation of Thailand which are now being investigated. On one hand of course we do not want to see such clear cheating by a single nation in our sport, but on the other hand this goes to show that the IWF are beginning to show significant progress in the areas of testing, enforcement and education for anti-doping and this must continue. Thailand must now face a legal process to confirm those positives and once done so, will face an independent nations review panel which will evaluate the future of the Thai federation. Assuming all 4 positives are proven, together with previously announced positives meaning 6 of their team tested positive, the IWF Anti-Doping policy calls for a 2-4 year ban as a nation, inclusive of removal from the 2020 Olympic Games. This, of course, will see the likely move of the 2019 IWF World Championships. At this time, the sport must work together to pull off a showpiece event in a very short time period right before the Olympic Games. Therefore, the US stands ready to help the IWF with this in any manner we can. This will likely not mean hosting the event in the USA, but most likely providing assistance to a nation to help them host on short notice.

February brings our first national event of the year, the 2019 Nike USA Weightlifting National Junior Championships, powered by Rogue Fitness (from where I am writing). The event is at the Westin Yorktown Mall in Lombard near Chicago, Illinois. You can get your tickets at WeightliftingTickets.com. With the addition of the final qualification event for the Senior Pan Ams, a majority of our elite Women will be lifting and quite a few men. This Senior Pan Am is important because it is a Gold Olympic Qualification event, which means you receive 110% of your qualification points at this event. We’ll also name our IWF 2019 Junior World team and Pan American Junior team, so there is a lot on the line.

Junior World team members Kate Nye (71kg – Rochester Hills MI – Team Hercules), Hayley Reichardt (49kg – Leesport, PA – Garage Strength), Carlos Millen (61kg – Savannah, GA – Coastal Empire Weightlifting) and Jaden Washington (96kg – San Ramon, CA – California Strength) are joined by an array of current and former Youth national team members highlighted by Peyton Brown (59kg – Peoria, AZ – Team E3) who became the first US Weightlifting athlete to win a medal at the Youth Olympic Games, and her fellow Youth Olympian Jerome Smith (67kg – St Louis MO – Lift for Life). The list of great performers is almost endless with Elle Grizzle, Kaela Stephano, Marcos Bribiesca, Sha’la McMillan, Kaitlyn Jarrett, Emma Nye, Kaiya Bryant, Avery Owens and many more current or former Team USA members.

The senior roster, especially for Women, vying for Pan Am action is outstanding as well as male World team members Jordan Wissinger (67kg – Leesport PA – Garage Strength), Alex Lee (67kg – Phoenix AX – ALEE Athletics), Travis Cooper (81kg – Wakefield, RI – East Coast Gold), Derrick Johnson (61kg – Los Angeles CA – Kings of Weightlifting) and more, the Women’s side features 3 really deep categories at 49kg, 59kg and 71kg each with 3 or more very talented athletes trying to make the Pan Am Team, including Mattie Rogers who recently became the first Woman to win back-to-back medals at worlds since Robin Goad in 1994 as well as Meredith Alwine, Cortney Batchelor, Caitlin Hogan, Jessica Lucero, Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet, Jessie Bradley and more. Hope to see many in Chicago or online at www.usaw.live watching the action.

Speaking of Mattie, she recently was officially awarded the Silver medal from the 2017 World Championships due to the Albanian lifter who took her medal stand slot having per positive confirmed. Congratulations to Mattie. We are currently working with the IWF to receive the actual Silver medals and find an appropriate time for Mattie to receive her just and correct silver medals.

Team USA is on the road twice to Silver Olympic Games qualification events this month taking in the EGAT Cup in Chiang Mai, Thailand while we will also send a team to the IWF World Cup in Fuzhou, China. Congratulations to the athletes involved and keep watching the website for more information on these teams and how they do in Asia!

Away from the platform, we’ve started the year strong. We’ve just partnered with a new post-production company which means you’ll be seeing much more video from us over the coming months, while we have just announced our Coaching Symposium in Miami, FL for 2019. This time the Symposium will be in August. We are currently confirming our final speakers but expect to have new shortly, including our already confirmed international speakers.

We’ve also continued our outreach activity this month, we partnered up with USA Cheer to help with their national team tryouts, which doubled as a recruitment event for us. You might remember that we’ve had a number of athletes participate in cheer, perhaps most notably Mattie Rogers.

It's a big year ahead, and we can’t wait to see the action return to the platform in a few weeks.

Yours in sport,
Phil Andrews
Phil.Andrews@USAWeightlifting.org