Happy Arnold Time

“I’ll be back”

And sure enough it is, with a World Record level of participation, the North American Open Series 1, powered by Rogue Fitness together with the National University Championships and the Arnold Weightlifting Championship get underway in Columbus, Ohio!

I can’t go any further without thanking Mark Cannella, Shelly Viets, Columbus Weightlifting and the entire Arnold team, it’s a mammoth event to put together and takes many folks to do so. So too our Technical Officials who have come out in an unreal level of support for the first ever 6 platform meet anywhere on the planet.

Frankly, it is so good to be turning back to the idea of a fully in-person Arnold, with so much of our community both new and existing feel comfortable coming to the meet. It was the Arnold and the associated Rogue Challenge Olympic Qualification Event that was the last meet held in 2020 by USA Weightlifting or the IWF before the world closed down. Coming back to such a well-attended Arnold complete with a full Expo and the main Rogue Strength Stage feels like we are finally starting to see the light  at the end of the tunnel.

Elsewhere, however, there is pain in the world again. This time due to War. Our thoughts as a group go to our friends and colleagues of the Ukrainian Weightlifting Federation, and especially the Weightlifting athletes of Ukraine.  

At the Arnold we’ll see the 2022 IWF Youth World Championship team decided, the 2022 Pan Am Championship team decided and the 2022 FISU America Cup team decided. The latter is the first time the University event has been held for just University students of our continent. The Pan Am Championships is also super important because it determines how many people can go to the 2023 Pan American Games, for which we already have 3 athletes who have qualified by name (Olivia Reeves, Katie Estep and Ryan Grimsland).

We’ve already had some international athletes in action, our friends in Canada hosted the Canada Invitational where we saw Hunter Elam return to the international platform, winning the meet at 64kg while Daniel Dodd made his international debut. Just over a week after the Arnold we’ll have a team visiting Cuba with a large contingent.

Off the field of play our organization is recovering from a difficult 2021, but have started the year with record income, and an amazing return to Weightlifting for membership. This sets us up for what we hope will be a good 2022, but it’s early days just yet!

We welcome this month our new WSO Presidents and Boards, the design of our state associations is to really support and mentor local growth in our sport. Ultimately the biggest driver of our sport is always going to be our folks on the ground, and they need help. We welcome the Presidents and look forward to them driving further growth at the local level.

Anyway, with an Arnold to prepare for and almost 15% of our membership present, I will close this update early, but only to say GOOD LUCK at the Arnold, I’ll be there all weekend and look forward to seeing many of you in person.