November 1, 2017

Dear Members,

The month of the World Championships in Anaheim, California is finally here. USA Weightlifting published who will travel to California wearing the red, white and blue last week at the registration deadline. The start list after the close of entries will be published shortly by the IWF but you will see we have some great medal shots heading into the World Championships. Congratulations to our athletes!
 
Right now in Colombia, our Youth team is winning medals at the Youth Pan American Championships. Our team features many strong athletes including Youth American Record holders Cole Bramble, Athena Schrijver, Antwan Kilbert, Will Cohen and more. Reigning Youth World Champions and Youth World Record holders CJ Cummings and Harrison Maurus youth athletes didn't travel to Colombia so they could prepare for the Senior Worlds in Anaheim. Make sure to get your tickets here to see them!

Our biggest task, aside from organizing and preparing the 2017 Worlds, this month is continuing to work on the campaign for our sport to remain a part of the Olympic Games. Once again I call upon all of you to come to the Worlds to show your support not just for Team USA-- and the nearly 80 other nations on display-- but for our sport. Members of the International Olympic Committee will be visiting with us in Anaheim, together with senior members of the United States Olympic Committee. It is vital we show the strength of our sport especially here in the United States.
 
Immediately after Worlds we have the American Open Finals. The registration deadline is Thursday, November 9th at 2PM Mountain time. The American Open Finals brings to a close the inaugural American Open Series. The series has seen the sport become more accessible to more people around the nation, providing a stepping stone to the national level and additional opportunities to qualify. We’re happy to bring the Series back with some changes in 2018. You can learn more about those changes here. 

We’re working away on our 2018 activities, and will be focusing somewhat more on the exposure of the sport. Before the end of the year you, the membership, will receive a survey so we can learn a little bit more about who our membership really is, what they do and what motivates you to become a member. Have an idea to grow the sport? Great, share it with me at phil.andrews@usaweightlifting.org.
 
USA Weightlifting received great news this month that we have been upgraded by the United States Olympic Committee from a Blue to a Bronze National Governing Body. The distinction recognizes the achievements of our athletes as well as our organization's success on the business and sport side of USA Weightlifting. This also means the USOC will begin, for the first time in many years, to provide some Direct Athlete Support to our athletes placing in the Top 8 at the World level. These payments are in addition to our existing stipend program. In 2016, we spent more than $600,000 on direct cash payments to athletes. This figure is amongst the highest in the Olympic movement here in the United States and something we should be very proud of here at USA Weightlifting.
 
Elsewhere, we have also continued to work to recruit athletes at the elite level into Weightlifting. We recently have placed athletes with coaches in New Jersey, Alaska, New York, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. We will see how they progress. Additionally, we are preparing for 6 high school combines coming in early 2016 where we will test young athletes from around the nation for their potential in our sport in order to then feed them to our clubs and onward to participation in our sport.
 
You may have heard some rumors about how our sport is changing overseas over the last month. Here is what has already happened: the IWF has committed to moving its doping control program to an independent testing agency. Furthermore the IWF confirmed one-year bans for 9 nations due to doping positives from the retesting of samples collected at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. The sport is making much needed changes to the way it protects clean competition, and this bodes well for our future in the Olympic Games.
 
Separately, the IWF's Sports Program Commission is looking at which category will removed from the Olympic Games (per the order from the IOC) and how the sport can be made more attractive. These changes will not be easy for us as a sport, but are necessary for our continued participation at the Olympic level. It is possible that in the future some categories will be contested at the Worlds but not at the Olympic Games. We also await news on the qualification system for the 2020 Olympic Games. As soon as we receive more information we will share it you.

In other news, USA Weightlifting is so close to successfully achieving the USOC's Challenge Grant goal for the year. We are 85.98% of the way there! If we hit our goal, the USOC will contribute $20K to support the athletes of USA Weightlifting AND we are eligible to participate in the 2018 Challenge Grant program. 

Thank you to those who have already donated and supported the Strongest Team in America. We appreciate our loyal donors and supporters. The success of our athletes would not be possible without your support. If you haven't already made a gift to support the athletes of USA Weightlifting, the next paragraph may interest you! 

November 28th is "Giving Tuesday." This is known as the international day of giving. Be sure to keep your eye out for communications on Giving Tuesday and our exclusive gift for donations over $20.20! (Hint: it involves the 2017 World Championships!)
 
As always, comments and suggestions please always reach out to phil.andrews@usaweightlifting.org and we’ll see you in Anaheim!

Yours in sport,

 

Phil Andrews
Phil.Andrews@USAWeightlifting.org