January 2, 2018

Dear Members,

First of all, Happy New Year 2018 to all of you! 2017 was quite a year within our sport, and we look ahead to 2018 with a sense of optimism for both our sport domestically and abroad.
 
2018 will bring some new and interesting experiences for our sport. The implementation of the recommendations of the IWF Clean Sport Commission and IWF Sports Program Commissions will be right at the forefront of that as we see new Weight Categories implemented later this year. USA Weightlifting will keep you up to date as more information becomes available on that subject. Also in 2018, the new anti-doping policies of the IWF will be implemented helping to level the playing field worldwide for clean athletes. It’s once again an opportunity to thank the IWF and the members of the IWF Executive Board and Clean Sport Commissions for their significant work on this subject. Domestically, we’ll see the launch of our new online continuing education segments, starting with Sport Programming early in the year and some great improvements on the horizon for our online membership system also implementing local meet registrations available through the WebPoint membership system and the ability to pay monthly for your membership on an auto-renewed basis.
 
Looking back, 2017 was a year like no other in our history. In November & December we hosted the IWF World Championship for the second time in three years, this time in Anaheim, California. I firstly must pay tribute to the super-human efforts of our staff and all the volunteers who made the event possible. Many people put in unknown amounts of hours to make the event happen and I hope by the time each is reading this note they are somewhat recovered. However, the biggest achievements of the World Championship are of course those of Team USA’s athletes, including:
Sarah Robles, +90kg (Houston, TX – Team Houston) – First World Champion in 23 years.
Team USA Women finishing second in the World as a team.
Harrison Maurus, 77kg (Auburn, WA - Auburn Strength & Conditioning) – First Men’s Medalist in 20 years.
Harrison Maurus, 77kg (Auburn, WA – Auburn Strength & Conditioning) – Youth World Record Clean & Jerk
Mattie Rogers, 69kg (Apopka, FL – Team O.C.) – First Women’s Medalist in 12 years.
 
Away from the Worlds, we had great success with our national team, we medaled at all 6 major IWF and Pan Am meets in 2017, repeating the feat from 2016.
 
Some key highlights away from the World Championships:
CJ Cummings, 69kg (Beaufort, SC – Team Savannah) – World Junior & World Youth Champion, 4-time World Champion.
Harrison Maurus, 77kg (Auburn, WA – Auburn Strength & Conditioning) – World Youth Champion
Harrison Maurus & CJ Cummings both set World Youth Records, joining Cheryl Haworth (+90kg) as current USA Youth World Record holders.
Hayley Reichardt (Leesport, PA – Garage Strength) at age 18, became the youngest ever female to Clean & Jerk double bodyweight
Caitlin Hogan, Alyssa Ritchey and Hayley Reichardt joined an extremely select group of females to Clean & Jerk double bodyweight. The remaining athletes are all Olympians.
CJ Cummings was named US Olympic Committee's Athlete of the Month for June.
Harrison Maurus was named in the US Olympic Committee's “17 for 17” Men.
Mattie Rogers was named in the US Olympic Committee's “17 for 17” Women.
Sarah Robles was named in the US Olympic Committee's “17 Times Team USA broke records or ended droughts.”
Sarah Robles won the IWF Media Award at the 2017 IWF World Championships.
CJ Cummings won the IWF Best Lifter Award at the 2017 IWF Youth World Championships.
Abby Raymond won the Copa SudAmericana Best Lifter for 15 & Under.
Dean Goad Jnr won the Copa SudAmericana Best Lifter for 15 & Under.
Team USA Men won 2nd Place at the Pan American Championships, and are positioned to earn full quotas at the 2019 Pan Am Games with a repeat performance in 2018.

Our Masters athletes generated a great level of success at the World Masters Games, and Pan American Masters Championships.
 
Here is a list of our international medalist in 2017, congratulations to each and every one of our athletes who have to put in so much hard work to get there, and also congratulations to their support teams.

We were delighted to pay our over $60,000 in bonus prize money to our athletes, aside from our $600,000 athlete stipend program. Remember you can donate to help support this effort, HERE

Competition

Athlete/Team

Medal

Club

Coach

2017 IWF Worlds

Team USA Women

2ndPlace (Silver)

Team USA

Team USA

2017 IWF Worlds

Sarah Robles

Gold/Gold/Gold

Team Houston

Tim Swords

2017 IWF Worlds

Mattie Rogers

Bronze/Bronze/Bronze

Team O.C.

Danny Camargo

2017 IWF Worlds

Harrison Maurus

5th/Bronze/Bronze

Alpha S&C

Kevin Simons

2017 IWF Jnr Worlds

CJ Cummings

Silver/Gold/Gold

Team Savannah

Rayford Jones

2017 IWF Yth Worlds

CJ Cummings

Silver/Gold/Gold

Team Savannah

Rayford Jones

2017 IWF Yth Worlds

Harrison Maurus

Silver/Gold/Gold

Alpha S&C

Kevin Simons

2017 IWF Yth Worlds

Kuinini Manumua

Bronze/5th/Bronze

Hasslefree BBC

Ben Hwa

2017 Pan Am

Colin Burns

Gold/Silver/Gold

Ronin Weightlifting

Colin Burns

2017 Pan Am

Caine Wilkes

Bronze/Gold/Gold

Little League WL

Christopher Wilkes

2017 Pan Am

Sarah Robles

Gold/Gold/Gold

Team Houston

Tim Swords

2017 Pan Am

Caitlin Hogan

Bronze/Silver/Silver

Waxman’s Gym

Sean Waxman

2017 Pan Am

Alyssa Ritchey

Silver/4th/Bronze

Team Juggernaut

Max Aita

2017 Pan Am

Kathleen Winters

Bronze – Snatch

Team Montana

Steve Gough

2017 Pan Am

Wes Kitts

Silver/Silver

California Strength

David Spitz

2017 Pan Am

D’Angelo Osorio

Gold – Clean & Jerk

Hasslefree BBC

Rob Earwicker

2017 Pan Am

Mattie Rogers

Silver/Silver/Silver

Team O.C.

Danny Camargo

2017 Pan Am

Angelo Bianco

4th/Silver/Silver

Average Broz

John Broz

2017 Pan Am

Harrison Maurus

Bronze – Clean & Jerk

Alpha S&C

Kevin Simons

2017 Jnr Pan Am

Hayley Reichardt

Silver/Silver/Silver

Garage Strength

Dane Miller

2017 Jnr Pan Am

Jourdan Delacruz

Bronze/Silver/Silver

Power & Grace Performance

Spencer Arnold

2017 Jnr Pan Am

Taylor Turner

Silver/4th/Silver

Vero Beach WL

Joey Lippo

2017 Jnr Pan Am

Meredith Alwine

Bronze/Silver/Silver

HI Performance Athletics

Vernon Patao

2017 Jnr Pan Am

Jessie Bradley

Silver/Silver/Silver

Power & Grace Performance

Spencer Arnold

2017 Jnr Pan Am

Juliana Riotto

Bronze/Bronze/Bronze

Garage Strength

Dane Miller

2017 Jnr Pan Am

Shala McMillan

Silver/Silver/Silver

Full Circle Performance

Tyler Peacock

2017 Jnr Pan Am

Kaitlyn Jarrett

Bronze/4th/4th

Unattached

Bryan Schenone

2017 Jnr Pan Am

Jordan Wissinger

Silver/Bronze/Bronze

Garage Strength

Dane Miller

2017 Jnr Pan Am

Mason Groehler

Silver/Bronze/Silver

Mash Mafia WL

Travis Mash

2017 Jnr Pan Am

Dale Loch Jnr

Bronze/6th/4th

Garage Strength

Dane Miller

2017 Jnr Pan Am

Josh Piasecki

4th/Bronze/Bronze

Team Florida – St Cloud

Cory Aun

2017 Jnr Pan Am

Michael H Cohen

Bronze/NT/NT

Team Savannah

Howard Cohen

2017 Jnr Pan Am

Zack Burks

Bronze/Silver/Bronze

Wesley Weightlifting

Dennis Snethen

2017 Jnr Pan Am

Ryan Sennett

Gold/Silver/Silver

 

 

2017 Yth Pan Am

Ashamarie Benitez

Gold/Gold/Gold

Team Lara

Emilio Lara

2017 Yth Pan Am

Kuinini Manumua

Silver/Silver/Silver

Hasslefree BBC

Ben Hwa

2017 Yth Pan Am

Marc Vanchiasong

Bronze/Bronze/Bronze

Hasslefree BBC

Ben Hwa

2017 Yth Pan Am

Cole Bramble

Gold/NT/NT

CHFP Weightlifting

Cara Heads Slaughter

2017 Yth Pan Am

Athena Schrijver

Silver/Silver/Silver

Myles Ahead WL

Freddie Myles

2017 Yth Pan Am

Nadeen Pierre

5th/Bronze/5th

Mash Mafia WL

Vinh Hyunh

2017 Yth Pan Am

Taylor Babb

Gold/Silver/Gold

 

Ty Babb

2017 Yth Pan Am

Stephen Short

Silver/Silver/Silver

Vero Beach WL

Brian Seacrest

2017 Yth Pan Am

Jerome Smith

Silver/Silver/Silver

Lift for Life Gym

Jimmy Duke III

2017 Yth Pan Am

Kate Wehr

Bronze/Bronze/Bronze

Garage Strength

Dane Miller

2017 Yth Pan Am

Antwan Kilbert

Bronze/6th/5th

Lift for Life Gym

Jimmy Duke III

2017 Yth Pan Am

Kaela Stephano

Silver/Silver/Silver

CrossFit Beaufort

Rayford Jones

2017 Copa SudAmericana

Dean Goad Jnr

 

Texas Barbell

Robin Goad

2017 Copa SudAmericana

Abby Raymond

Gold/Gold/Gold (15)

Windy City WL

Roger Neilsen

2017 Copa SudAmericana

Julia Yun

Silver/Silver/Silver (15)

Hasslefree BBC

Ben Hwa

2017 Copa SudAmericana

Hayley Trinh

 

Hasslefree BBC

Ben Hwa

In 2017, we exceeded the U.S. Olympic Committee's Challenge Grant fundraising goal and have been accepted into their 2018-2019 Fundraising Challenge. Every dollar counts, so please donate here. Thank you to those who donated to USA Weightlifting in 2017! 

Away from the platform, USA Weightlifting had a key success in 2017 regarding the election of Ursula Garza Papandrea (USA Weightlifting Chair) to the IWF Vice Presidency, becoming the first woman to hold the position. Later, Ursula was also named the IWF Women’s Commission Chair. USA Weightlifting staff member and 3-time Olympic Champion, Pyrros Dimas, was also elected to the Executive Board and was name IWF Athlete Commission Chair.
 
The US was the most successful nation in the elections as Dr. Mark Lavallee was elected to the IWF Medical Committee and Dr. Kyle Pierce was re-elected to the IWF Coaching & Scientific Committee. They were later joined by Paula Aranda who was named to the IWF Development Commission, while both Dr. Pierce and Dr. Lavallee occupy positions in the Pan American Weightlifting Federation.
 
That close relationship with the IWF continued as we hosted the IWF Congress & Executive Board meetings in Anaheim, while the IWF Anti-Doping Commission became the first IWF staff to visit Colorado Springs in August.
 
In December, USA Weightlifting was named the 2017 National Sports Governing Body of the Year by the International Sports Awards, recognizing success on and off of the platform. This Award was really earned by not only our staff team but our volunteers, donors, sponsors, coaches, athletes and all members who are contributing to the success of USA Weightlifting.
 
Across the year, a record number of athletes were able to participate in the new American Open Series, which provides an intermediate opportunity for athletes to compete en route to the National Championships or similar. For the first time, domestic events were combined with the Pan American Championships and IWF World Championships. This took a great deal of effort from many people but a great deal of credit must be given to USA Weightlifting Senior Events Manager Pedro Meloni for all his hard work on these events, while I must also mention our Technical Officials here, without whom events just are not possible as well as Les Simonton whose scoring & timing system has proved our most reliable solution in this key area.
 
2016 saw the sad closure of the Olympic Training Center program after some 30 years. In 2017, Rogue stepped in to provide us with a facility in Columbus to host our camps and national team training. Rogue also worked with USA Weightlifting Technical Director Pyrros Dimas to develop the Pyrros Bar and made some great innovations in our event equipment. Rogue debuted a brand new competition platform at the American Open Finals while in July we took the step of using Rogue equipment on the competition platform. We hope to see Rogue certified by the IWF in the coming months.
 
As well as Rogue, we had a record number of partners in 2017, including some who contributed to our sports performance program such as Renaissance Periodization, AthletePS/Nike Weightlifting, 2Pood Belts and Trifecta Nutrition.
 
Earlier in 2017, Pyrros Dimas joined Lance Williams, Mike Gattone and Lorene Halford on our Sport Performance team which continues to build our sport performance program. Each of these individuals has brought a different expertise to the group and has produced arguably our best sports performance program in history. We’ll start 2018 off with more innovations but I want to share the better results that we have seen particularly in the area of selection (making sure we send the best team for Team USA) and in the area of competition management, moving our make/miss ratio up by over 20 percentage points across all competitions in 2017 versus the same in 2016. This has been a great year in sport, and these guys together with our coaches in the field and athletes on the platform have worked so hard to make it happen.
 
We also began to review our Coaching Education program, and as well as working on some new online courses, we reviewed our coaching education materials first under Tamas Feher and then under Mike Gattone. Look for these to roll out early 2018.
 
Our social media reach grew significantly in 2017, with our Instagram passing the 200,000 mark late in 2017. USA Weightlifting Director of Membership, Communications & Digital Marketing Kevin Farley was also selected by the USOC to accompany Team USA to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina in October. Kevin will join two US Weightlifting athletes as part of the US Olympic Committee delegation.
 
Team USA improved our outreach capabilities with the hires of both Mike Gattone & Suzy Sanchez who have implemented elite and grassroots recruitment programs respectively. Look for more in 2018 from both individuals and in particular the application of Weightlifting to both the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) and NCAA (National Collegiate Athletics Association). We also entered a partnership with the NFHS (National Federation of High School State Associations) to work to generate more high school competition in Weightlifting and opportunities for Coaching Education.
 
During 2017, USA Weightlifting also implemented new bylaws making further improvements and clarifications on the last bylaw review in 2009. In part as a result of this, USA Weightlifting was named second in the University of Colorado governance study behind USA Track and Field. 2018 will see elections at both Board and Committee levels, make sure to look at these opportunities and think about how you can contribute to the sport. We will also need to refine bylaws for our Foundation as we move into 2018.
 
In cooperation with the US Anti-Doping Agency and US Center for SafeSport we tackled two very important issues in the area of Anti-Doping and SafeSport. We recognize this has put more responsibilities on our athletes and coaches, however we also appreciate the good cooperation of the membership in tackling these key issues.
 
2017 was a big year, and here are some closing year stats below – thank you to all the staff, board, volunteers, athletes, coaches, partners who made it happen with us.

Yours in sport,

Phil Andrews
Phil.Andrews@USAWeightlifting.org