March 24 2005
A number of things are going on in the powerlifting world, some good, some not so good. On the good side, as we are at the midpoint of our national meet schedule, things are going well. The USAPL Women's Nationals had 160 participants and a great time was had by all. High School Nationals is coming up in two weeks, and looks to be a great show. 400 lifters are expected at the Killen (Texas) Convention Center, with perennial powerhouses Plainwell (Michigan), Alexandria Senior High (Louisiana), and Glen Mills, among others scheduled to attend. It looks to be a great team battle as always, and many of the individual winners will represent the U.S.A. at the IPF Subjunior World Championships to be held this September in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
We just concluded the Military Nationals in Heidelberg, Germany. This is our first national competition outside the continental U.S. The reasons for this reflect our service to our Armed Forces members. They are "going downrange" and we are following to make powerlifting as accessible as possible given the world situation. In Germany, Vice President Graham and I met with the individual responsible for sports activities in Europe and South West Asia and pledged to provide support for powerlifters anywhere they are. Combat zone or not.
We are ramping up for the international competition season, with the Master Bench team heading to the Czech Republic in April. The team is loaded with talent, and coached and managed by Kevin Farley, Nectar Kirkiris, and Frank Palmer they have all the advantages. The Women's Team leaves for Finland at the end of May for the Women's World Championships. It looks to be a great meet, and is being held close to the Arctic Circle so maybe the lifters will get a chance to see some Northern Lights as well. The North American Championships are being held in Miami, Florida the third weekend in June and teams have committed from Canada, the U.S., Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Columbia (guest lifters). There are selected lifters attending from other nations in the North American Region as well. Finally, in mid-July, 6 men and 6 women will compete in the International Olympic Committee affiliated World Games in Duisberg, Germany. Athletes from the U.S. are part of a team from North America and South America and were selected by the IPF and the International World Games Association based on their performances in the last two years' World Championships. It looks to be a great show with 3500 athletes participating in more than 30 events.
The USA Powerlifting meet schedule is filling up, with a greater number of competitions to be held. Last year, approximately 150 sanctioned competitions were put on in 47 states. This year we hope to add to that, and increase coverage in areas where we have not been well represented in past years. We want to give everyone a chance to participate in the best powerlifting competitions in the country.
On the downside, there are rumors out there about every subject imaginable. Some are being propagated by prominent non-members. Please be assured that USAPL remains true to its mission: to provide the best drug free competition in the U.S. Our officials are committed to this ideal, and are working on your behalf to increase the professionalism of our athletes, officials, and competition organizers. Those who would criticize your organization in most cases haven't met either you or your Executive Committee, and have never been to a USAPL competition. It is unfortunate, for them and for us, because once they get to know us, they'll become a part of a great organization. Perhaps as USA Powerlifting gets better and stronger, they are concerned about the competition or threats to their livlihood. For our part though, we will continue to work on being the best organization for you, our members, that we can.
There has been much talk of unification recently. Unfortunately, the plans out there would allow organizations and individuals to reap the benefits of being the IPF affiliate without having to support the organization that is the U.S. affiliate. Some of the athletes and officials don't care for some of our athletes and officials. Some don't want to adhere to IPF rules, including drug testing, at least not consistently. There are rumors that the USAPL E.C. has declined to meet, or to provide an avenue for lifters in other federations to come to USAPL. These are exactly that: rumors. The meetings going by others have not included us to this point. That is true, but USAPL has not been invited despite what you may hear. The IPF offered to have a "sit down" with other federation officials in Cleveland last December. None of the invitees attended. Another invitation, for this September in Ft. Wayne, Indiana has been made. Time will tell whether that will be a success. But the easiest way to lift on the USAPL platform is to find a meet, join the organization and lift. We are open to everyone willing to accept our rules and to compete in the spirit of good athletic competition. Come join!
We also maintain a commitment to the grassroots level lifter. To this end, we are resurrecting our hardcopy newsletter to be sent to each member of USA Powerlifting so that YOU will be better informed connected with our federation. The first issues should have come to all members registered in 2003 and 2004. The second issue, to be delivered soon will be a membership benefit for those currently registered. If you have let your membership lapse, you still have a few weeks to renew and so that you might get the next edition.
Please let us hear from you, and keep picking up the heavy weights,
L.J. Maile, Ph.D.