Presidents Message - April 1998
The following message appears in the April 1998 issue of Clean Power:
We're heading into a strong 1998, with many local meets scheduled early in the year to prepare lifters for the National Meet Schedule. Now is the best time to plan for specialty meets in the Summer and Fall months that are fun for the lifters, and help to promote local gyms and clubs. Please work on helping to develop a plan to put on a sanctioned USA Powerlifting Meet in your area this year. We all benefit by building interest in, and awareness of our great sport.
The Women's Nationals held in Seattle were successfully presented by Martin Beavers and Bull Stewart with the help of many others from the Pacific powerlifting scene. We were honored with the presence of IPF President Grahame Fong for this 1st historic IPF qualifier. The transition to those few changes that will make us compliant to IPF Rules has begun. Change is rarely an easy or graceful thing, however it is the hallmark of progress. The Women's National Team is now preparing to represent the USA at the IPF Women's World Powerlifting Championships to be held in Mo Irana, Norway this coming May. The Masters Women chosen from the Seattle Nationals will be joining the nominated Masters Men emerging from the Men's Master Nationals to be held in Virginia this May. Together they will represent the USA in Argentina this October at the combined IPF Master World Championships. It will be good to build stronger relationships with our Powerlifting neighbors to the South. The Men's Open National Championships in Denver this July should prove to be a Mega-Meet attracting lifters from all corners of the country to vy for a spot on the 1st ever USA Powerlifting Men's Open Team to compete at the IPF World Championships - which will be held in November in Ukraine. Enhancing this event will be a "Friendship Competition" between several honored guest Nations which we will soon invite to our National Championships. Watch the next issue of Clean Power for more details. STATE CHAIRS AND REFEREES PLEASE NOTE: Because of the anticipated size of this event, the Mens' Nationals are now slated to be a 3 DAY EVENT, with competiton flowing over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 3rd, 4th and 5th. This pushes the Annual NGB Meeting back to Thursday, July the 2nd. Please adjust your schedules accordingly. There will be many important Agenda Items to consider as we chart the course for USA Powerlifting in the future.
To further address the current problems in the USA with the "legal" sale of over-the-counter steroids such as Androstenedione, Norandro, etc.; the Executive Committee has voted to adopt a new policy for our organization which should help athletes to "stay clean" in an increasingly treacherous "supplement" market. To present this new policy, I will need to present 2 ideas, or 2 ways of looking at things, one from the past and one from the present. These are referred to as "Roman Law" and "English Law". In the present time, we have operated under the system of English Law, which considers that all things (or supplements) are legal, except for those things (or supplements) which are specifically Banned. The historic system of Roman Law first considers that all things are Banned, except for those things which are specifically approved of as legal. With the increasing volume of banned substances hitting the "legal marketplace", such as the above mentioned, over-the-counter steroids, USA Powerlifting has decided to take the "Roman Law" approach to supplements and medications for our athletes. First consider that unless you have checked to see if a substance is specifically approved - you should not put it into your body. Period. To help with the process of checking into "approved substances/medications", The USA Powerlifting Official Web Page has established a link to the IPF list of approved medications. The IOC Web Page has a similar listing. If you do not have access to the internet at home or at work, almost all libraries now can provide you with access. Please take advantage of this information tool. Today's lifter cannot afford to be uninformed.
Local Meet Directors now have the option of implementing IPF Technical Rules for the performance of the lifts, through the calendar year 1998. Beginning January 1, 1999, These will be regulation for all USA Powerlifting competition. What a great benefit for lifters to know that the rules will be the same at any meet they lift in - at any level of competition! No more "what rules are we using at this meet?". This will also help us to further our quest for Olympic recognition. Just as we have fought to establish a "level playing field" with strict drug testing policies, we will show ourselves to be responsible to the level playing field of established International Powerlifting Technical Rules. It is significant to note that we have always been very close to this standard, and the only truly significant change lies in the Bench Press Command. While on this subject, I will clarify that the Bench Press Lift is executed exactly as before. The only difference is that the lift starts at arm's length with the "start" command, rather than at the chest with the "press" command. I have heard rumblings that the stopping point at the chest is "quicker" or heaven help us, more like a "touch and go". NOT! The rule is very specific, and quite what we have been used to in the past. The IPF Rulebook states "the lifter must hold the bar motionless on the chest, with a definite and visible pause". Those who advocate anything else are ignoring the text of the rule. The significance of not having a command at the chest lies with the discretion of the lifter, who decides for him/herself that they have paused correctly - much like the discretion utilized in achieving correct depth in the squat.
Another important subject that members of USA Powerlifting need to be informed about is the amateur "not for profit" status requirement of the United States Olympic Committee for it's member sports organizations. USA Powerlifting enjoys this status. This is, however, not true for many of the competing powerlifting organizations in this country. The profit-making powerlifting organizations cannot be recognized by the United States Olympic Committee, as defined within the USOC Constitution. It is important for us define the differences here. USA Powerlifting, as an amatuer non-profit sports National Governing Body exists for the sole purpose of it's mission statement - to promote and develop the sport of drug-free powerlifting. Democratic elections are mandated by our By-laws to vote people into positions of leadership to execute this purpose. This democratic, non-profit structure requires registration and recognition from our federal government. In contrast, a privately owned "powerlifting organization" is a business which exists for the purpose of making a profit. There is nothing wrong with a business that makes good profit. However, comparing apples to apples, the two kinds of "powerlifting organizations" should not be confused, as they exist for different purposes, and have very different potentials. We should consider these things when deciding how we support our goals for powerlifting in the future.
Members of USA Powerlifting support a large segment of business suppliers. We buy bars, weights, racks, benches, gym memberships, supplements, suits, belts, wraps, shoes etc. etc. Many of these businesses, such as our corporate sponsors, give back to the sport that we love, and that they profit from. Others, it appears, have little conscience about such things, and in fact have shown disregard for our policies. Recently, a powerlifting supply company sent to me, at the National Office address (2) postcards, offering a free bottle of the androstenedione steriod, if I first purchase a bottle of another product that they sell. This business practice shows utter disregard for the most fundamental aspect of our USA Powerlifting - to promote drug-free powerlifting, and is a practice that I publicly renounce. We should expect members of the business community to respect, even support, the things that we stand for. We should reward those businesses who do with our patronage.
Wishing you a powerful and success-filled year,
Michael W. Overdeer
President, USA Powerlifting