February 5, 2004
The write-up on the 2004 Women's Nationals held last weekend is extensive. At almost 3,000 words, it doesn't do justice or adequately recognize the lifters who were present. To say that Women's Nationals is one of the very best meets in the world is probably an understatement. This meet exemplifies why people come to powerlifting, and probably more important, why the come back year after year. It is the sense of family and the support that the lifters give each other. I just got off the phone with Ruth Welding, who is the Master's National Champion, and inducted into the USAPL Women's Hall of Fame. She remarked on the fact that coaches were helping lifters who were competing against their athlete, lifters were loading weights for each other, and that after the competition, lifters and coaches gathered to congratulate each other. THAT is why this is a great sport, and it reminds us again why we do this.
In this issue, we highlight the inaugural Women's Hall of Fame inductees. They were presented in Omaha, and will have their own page on the USAPL website. Without these fine people, powerlifting, and not just women's powerlifting would not be what it is today. They deserve your respect and gratitude. If you see them at a meet, go up and thank them. Without them, we wouldn't be here.
Just a short recap of our drug testing this year: we did just under 780 tests in 2003 (I can't recall the exact number right this moment), and 57 Out of Meet tests. In the coming year, we will continue to expand OMT's by mandating that all competitors in international competition receive a test at a time of our choosing. Each lifter will have to remit the funds to pay for the test which will be scheduled by the Drug Testing Committee and/or the OMT Project Team. Look for our OMT numbers to go to in the neighborhood of 150, or more this year. In this way, we can assure that our best athletes are drug free, in meets and out. That is not to say that we will limit our OMT pool to only international competitors. We won't. If you compete in USAPL, you will be eligible for testing, in meet and out. That represents what we stand for.
Over the next year, my goal for us is to return to the "kinder, gentler" organization that we have had in the past, to open our doors to everyone who is willing to follow our rules, and to encourage everyone, USAPL or not to their best performances. I would also like to see us continue to increase our presence in the media, and not just the powerlifting media. The more exposure powerlifting gets, the better off we are and the more likely people are to want to try lifting. A great example of this was the CNN and National Public Radio coverage of the performance of Washington State Supreme Court Justice Faith Ireland, who participated (and won) at Women's Nationals. Not only was her story on the syndicated news services, but was replayed locally as well. That is what we need. And let's keep getting stronger.