March 1, 2018

Dear Members,

Happy March Members!
 
As you read this, many of you will likely be on your way or at the Arnold Weightlifting Championships & American Open Series 1 in Columbus, Ohio. The Arnold is a unique event and each year attracts thousands of athletes primarily interested in strength and barbell sports, it’s certainly an opportunity to showcase some of our best. If you are not headed to the Arnold you can watch live HERE!
 
This past month we had the National Junior Championships in Spokane, WA. The event went off well and thank you to members from Idaho and Washington who really helped pull together a great competition. There were some great performances headlined by Harrison Maurus becoming the youngest-- and lightest-- American to Clean & Jerk 200kg. American Records were set by Kaiya Bryant, Hutch Friend and Hampton Morris. The future continues to look bright for Weightlifting in the United States. Athletes selected from this event will head to the IWF Junior World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and the Pan American Youth Championship in Palmira, Colombia in June and July. You can view the teams that are set to travel, HERE. Congratulations to all of the athletes and coaches involved, and we hope for a great medal haul in Uzbekistan and Colombia. 

Another small international team travels this week for Ahvaz in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Derrick Johnson will compete in the Fajr Cup in Ahvaz while Sally van de Water will officiate the competition. However, perhaps the most interesting element is our chair and IWF Vice President, Ursula Garza Papandrea, who will run a camp with female Iranian Weightlifters. The participation of our group especially with the Women is truly historic, and we hope to welcome the Iranian team to championships competing alongside Team USA in the near future.
 
The other major sporting event that's just wrapped up is the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. It is worth taking time to congratulate Nationals silver medalist, Katie Uhlaender, on her 4th appearance in the Winter Games in the sport of Skeleton. With the Winter Games now finished, we can look ahead to Weightlifting’s participation in both the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and the upcoming Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina later this year. For selection procedures you can check this LINK.
 
USA Weightlifting this month, with the backing of both the USA Weightlifting Technical Committee and Board of Directors, took a step to protect our young athletes by taking the step that all athletes aged 17 and under on the day of the weigh in must weigh in within a singlet. I want to thank both the Technical Committee and our Board for taking this thoughtful step to protect our youth athletes as they begin their Weightlifting journey.

Regarding selection procedures, I do want to remind everyone that in order to be selected to Team USA, or to receive a USA Weightlifting stipend, you must have voluntarily been in the USADA Registered Testing Pool for at least 6 months. You can request that through your membership account in Webpoint.
 
USA Weightlifting was recently approved by the United State Olympic Committee, to participate in the annual Challenge Grant program. USA Weightlifting's first year participating in the program was in 2011. Fundraising goals are set by the USOC and have varied over the years (a set amount, or a dollar for dollar match). This will be the USOC's final year of the Challenge Grant program.

The 2018 goal for USAW is to raise $52,000. Once the organization meets this marker, the USOC will then give USAW $20K of support that we will direct right to our monthly performance funding pool.

This annual challenge has been a supporting factor of USAW being one of the top monthly athlete funded National Governing Bodies in the Olympic movement. Since 2011, USAW has increased athlete support from $74,000 to $600,000 annually. All funds raised go directly to support the athletes of USA Weightlifting.

We hope you will join us and support the Strongest Team in America!

Donate Today! 

March brings our new High School competition--we’re searching from the Strongest High School in America, and the Strongest Student in America! The new competition utilizes the most used lifts in the high school setting. We hope for many entries, you can participate with or without membership – you just must attend a high school or junior high! That’s it, see all the details at NextWeightliftingStar.com. Spread that news far and wide to your network of people involved with high schools. Schools can win equipment from our friends at Rogue Fitness. Related, as part of our push to get Weightlifting into more High Schools, this month we are meeting with some of the state high school federations to assess interest in how we become a sanctioned sport in more states. I wrote this update from Lansing, Michigan where I am meeting with the MHSAA about this very item.
 
Later in March, a key meeting of the IWF Executive Board will take place in Colorado Springs. High on the agenda is the new body weight categories. We won’t necessarily know much more after the meeting, but it is a vital meeting for the future of our sport. The IWF will also discuss the continued implementation of the great doping control reforms approved by the same Executive Board last year. We are looking forward to welcoming them to Colorado Springs for the first time in history. This gives the opportunity to remind everyone that there will likely be changes coming to the way we select teams, and the way we fund teams in the near future. 

We’re also currently undergoing our annual external audit from our auditors, Waugh & Goodwin LLP. We’ll shortly also undergo an audit from the U.S. Olympic Committee for the first time since 2014. This is as a result of the additional direct athlete support provided this year. This puts us on target to surpass over three-fourths of a million dollars this year combined USA Weightlifting and US Olympic Committee funds. The USOC provided an additional $1000 per year to each athlete who placed in the Top 8 at Worlds. Our outside auditors will be looking at our accounts, a reminder you can view our budget, and quarterly updates right here on the website. You can also request the balance for your LWC’s accounts as a member.
 
This month we also launched our first online course, Program Design, which you can take via your WebPoint membership. We’ve already seen a really great number take the course in the first month and this is encouraging us to produce more courses. Later this month we’ll be in touch with the list of speakers for the USA Weightlifting symposium.
 
This month our Board of Directors appointed our new independent ethics and judicial committees. This concept was put into our bylaws last year and gives both our ethics and judicial committees a more objective view of any ethical violation in our sport. The committees will spend time reviewing our code of ethics and code of conduct together per their role in the bylaws. Since each committee has an Elite Athlete Representative, then that individual can provide inside the sport information additionally to the group. The group includes those who write and implement ethical codes for a living, as well as attorneys, federal prosecutors and judges.
 
It’s a busy march ahead, enjoy the Arnold, Iran and wherever you might be competing this month!
 

Yours in sport,

Phil Andrews
Phil.Andrews@USAWeightlifting.org