There are, as always, a number of things going on in USA Powerlifting, but I want to concentrate on two issues because of their importance to the organization and to the membership.
The first is the restart of our hard copy newsletter. As you know, USA Powerlifting discontinued our newsletter, Clean Power in 1998 for financial reasons. That publication was well received and essential to providing information to each member about the federation and important issues. It also provided an opportunity to showcase our athletes and to provide information to each of you about upcoming events. The loss of Clean Power has been felt since that time. It has been clear to your leadership that information sharing is one of the most important aspects of building and maintaining a strong membership and grassroots support.
In light of this, we have worked hard to restart hard copy publications as they can be made available to each member of USA Powerlifting. With the help of two of our dedicated sponsors, Titan Support Systems and the City of Killeen, Texas, we are able to begin distributing a hard copy publication to each member of our organization. The first issue is at the printer's now, and should be to each registered member in the next several weeks. For the first issue, those whose membership expired in 2004 will be included. However, later issues will go to only current USAPL members. Our newsletter is a benefit of membership; to receive it in the future you must be a member.
We anticipate four issues per year, and are starting with 16 pages. The first issue includes federations information as well as the Top 20 Open athletes for both men and women. Following issues will continue these themes, and will include age group Top 20 lists.
In order for this publication to survive and to thrive we need your support in finding continuing sponsorship. We are very grateful for the support of our founding sponsors, but in order for this project to continue, additional support is needed. Please contact the National Office for further information on sponsorship or advertising.
The second issue I would like to touch on is our Women's Program. As those of you who were present at this past weekend's 2005 Women's Nationals in St. Louis know, women's powerlifting is growing exponentially. Almost 160 athletes lifted in this year, up more than 30 from last year.
If you have never attended this championships, where youth, teenage, junior, open, and master's national titles are awarded, you don't know what you are missing. This women's only meet is the largest women's strength exhibition in the world, and when you experience the comraderie, support, and excitement you will know why.
Women's lifting differs from mixed or men's competition is several important aspects. Whereas women are often an afterthough at a mixed championship, the USA Powerlifting Women's Nationals is THEIR SHOW! And they deliver. Numerous National, American, and World records fell this weekend, and virtually every class was closely contested to the end. Another remarkable aspect of this meet is the support of the crowd. They were there start to finish, and many of the spectators were not experienced in powerlifting but just interested in watching these fine athletes compete. Meet promoter Harold Gaines, along with his wife Dawn and with the assistance of Rick Fowler left no detail unattended. This was their first major national competition and it was a resounding success. (Please see the full article in this issue).
Women's Hall of Fame:
Bettina Altizer was the 2005 inductee into the USA Powerlifting Women's Hall of Fame. She joins a distinguished inaugural class (2004) on the strength of her competitive career, serving as USAPL Corporate Counsel for 13 years, and her success as a coach. Ms. Altizer is a champion in ever respect and is simply one of the outstanding lifters in the history of USA Powerlifting. She was presented a plaque signifying this achievement, a canvas with the signatures of all of the participants in the Nationals, and a web page in the Hall of Fame section of the USAPL website. Please see the article in this issue, and visit the Hall of Fame page at: www.usapowerlifting.com. Ms. Altizer's acceptance speech included thanks to all those who have supported her in her career, but also encouraged others to give back to the organization as she has. She proves that she is a champion both on and off the platform.