Happy February Members:

 

2022 seems like it is off to a roaring start, in spite of the continued presence of the Covid-19 pandemic in our country. It’s been so great to see Weightlifting athletes and coaches getting back to the platform, both online and in-person as well as our largest contingent of new coaches in a number of years coming through our Coaching Education courses.

 

First of all, please check your inbox, you will have this year’s membership survey. This is your opportunity to help shapes how we change and evolve over the course of the coming year, and we absolutely want your voice no matter what role you play in our NGB.

 

In a month we traditionally don’t have too much in January, we’ve seen some big meets on the state and local level, notably including the Texas State Championship and the Baltimore Open, between them they are as big as a national competition. These two meets have grown in the last few years and our congratulations to the Texas-Oklahoma WSO and to meet director Mario Dispenza respectively for their work on growing these two important meets, perhaps highlighted this year by Taylor Wilkins PR performance to win the Best Female lifter in Texas.

 

Taylor features again as our stipend athletes met at Rogue Fitness in Columbus for our first camp all together in a few years, we had a packed schedule not just with training but off-the-field of play too. We had colleagues from The People Academy who are suppliers to the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s National Team Coach Education Program around culture, they have previously worked with people like US Bobsled & Skeleton, USA Archery, US Fencing and USA Rugby – designed to give us a way of working together more often and more closely as we get towards Paris 2024.

 

Our first visit to Paris 2024 is also complete, Lorene Halford and Mike Gattone visited Paris looking at both outcomes for our team and for donors. We anticipate having camps for our elite athletes in Paris in the years running up to the Games.


Speaking of which, we are still seeing big changes in the calendar of events, and onward this is causing us to constantly update our selection calendar. Similarly, we believe a big update will be necessary to both our selection and funding documents once Olympic qualification becomes available from the IOC & IWF. Please keep a close eye on this as it may well affect you even if you are not on a pathway to Paris 2024.

 

We’re also looking forward in February to two small international events, the Canada Invitational and the Singapore Invitational which will see the return of Hunter Elam to the international platform while Daniel Dodd will also represent the USA in international competition.

 

The Arnold is also on the horizon, and while I know there has been a struggle for members to find hotel accommodation at a reasonable price, we are doing all we can in partnership with Columbus Weightlifting to address this. That said, the hotel market in the city is just problematic at this point in time. The Weightlifting event though will be a record number of participation, speaking to the appetite to return to in-person competition, though we continue to offer the hybrid model for those who wish to participate where they feel safe.



Similarly, we are working with the Arnold Festival, the city and Columbus Weightlifting on the ever changing Covid-19 situation in Columbus. As we get into early February be on the look out for testing requirements and any other requirements for attending in person in Columbus.

 

We have just sat in January all of the new State Organization boards, and I want to thank all of the members who went through this process. We are finishing up seating Presidents for these 26 regional organizations that will form a key part of our governance structure going forward.

 

This year, we will also undertake a major Document Review Project, which will review all of our policies and procedures within USA Weightlifting and get them all in one place to make sure that members, governance members and staff members alike can find all of those in one easy place. We’re excited to see that happen.

 

I must deal too with our financial outcomes from 2021. We budgeted a loss in 2021, but we went significantly over that. I am accountable for that. The biggest reasons were costs related to our international relations campaign, covid-19 measures, and external investigations. I want to take a moment to make sure to be fair to our members and talk about that, and be answerable to any questions on the decisions made at the time!

 

Lastly, we want to welcome three new additions to the staff Sean Rigsby, Jackie Berube Black, and AO Westley all of whom will help support our high performance team!

 

Anyway, have a great February and we’ll see you at the Arnold.

 

Phil