This has been a very busy spring for USA Powerlifting. We have hosted a number of very successful competitions, including Women's, Bench, Collegiate, High School, Military and just last weekend, Master's Nationals. Master Bench Press Worlds were held this spring as well, in Miami. Each of these competitions reflected the highest standard. Lifters were treated well, the venues were magnificent, and the competition was fierce. All in all, another strong beginning for USA Powerlifting. These great showings are the product of the work of our referees, meet promoters, coaches, and especially our athletes. Congratulations to all for a job well done.
Looking forward, we have an exciting summer coming as well. Our Teen/Jr. Nationals will be held in June and Men's Nationals in July. This year will also mark the continuation of the very successful North American Championships to be held in Dorado, Puerto Rico. This year's meet includes an open format competition (any USAPL member can enter) in addition to the Team championships.
In September, the athletes of USA Powerlifting have been invited back to Brasil. Two years ago, several of us attended the Brasilian Nationals, had a great time, and made many new friends. This year, we have been invited to guest at the South American Championships. Please consider attending. There are direct flights from Miami, Houston, and Los Angeles to Sao Paulo.
Strength Exhibitions, Guest Lifting, "Celebrity" Appearances:
Several our members have been very successful in gaining exposure for powerlifting recently. These athletes have appeared in a variety of different venues either giving talks, demonstrating the power lifts, or doing strength exhibitions. In short, they have gained both money and media coverage while letting the public know about powerlifting and giving audiences the chance to get to know a "star" in our sport.
And when you think about it, that is really what the public wants: to see, meet, talk to elite in whatever activity they are exposed to. What we get in return is the chance to popularize our sport. We also get the chance of return on the investment made in training and preparing. Some promoters will pay an elite athlete to make an appearance. In bodybuilding, this is the norm. Professional athletes augment their income by attending lower level shows and fitness festivals for a (sometimes) modest fee. They draw members of the public in to see them which makes it worthwhile for the organizer.
The dividend in excitement for the powerlifter involved cannot be overstated either. It is really great to have "normal" folks waiting in line to get our autograph, ask questions, or cheering as we lift. Spectators in powerlifting know what to expect, and have become conditioned. The incredible lifts that powerlifters make routinely have become, well, routine. That is not the case for the uninitiated. They are still as thrilled as we used to be.
Drug Testing, Lies, and the Burden of Proof:
After that upbeat message, there is an issue surfacing recently that will bring us to earth. That is, the upsurge of people refusing drug tests. As USA Powerlifting becomes more successful in blanketing the country with drug tested competition, we have to expect that some of those entering will not be drug free. There are several things to keep in mind as you enter a USAPL competition:
- You are swearing that you have been free of strength enhancing substances for three years.
- You are consenting to be tested any time and any place.
- You agree to abide by the USA Powerlifting drug testing rules.
In light of these things, when asked to test, you have already agreed, by your entry to the meet and joining of USAPL that you will allow yourself to be drug tested. You may not refuse or be excused. To refuse or leave so that you may not be tested is grounds for suspension, and it is very difficult to appeal successfully. It will be your word against an official or officials of USA Powerlifting. And the burden to prove that you are innocent of the failure to be tested is yours rather than the organization's.
Another disturbing, and related trend is for individuals to be notified properly and then claim that this did not occur. In short, lying. When you consider that you are making a statement that you are drug free, giving your word, and you are falsely reporting later. THAT is disappointing. But think about it. If you are in a position to lie on appeal, it is no different, and entirely consistent with lying on joining. It is sad that it comes to that.
Some wise USAPL member once said that the best thing for drug free lifting is non-drug free competition. With alternatives, everyone has some place to go. If you aren't eligible for USA Powerlifting competition, no harm, no foul. That is, as long as you do not try to join when you are not eligible.