December 15, 2006
L.J. Maile, Ph.D.
As the year draws to a close again, it is time to reflect on the past year. While there have been some downsides the positives far outweigh them. There are many high points that come to mind: the continuing success of our Women's Nationals early in the year, the strength of our Teen and Junior National competitions, the performance of our Master lifters, and toward the end of the year, the success our Open teams in World-level competition.
Just as a reminder, one of the most significant strengths of USA Powerlifting is our women's program. Women comprise a significant portion of our athletes and have since our founding. Our ladies, perhaps more than anyone have an investment in a drug free lifestyle. And that makes sense when you consider that the effects of anabolics are both noticeable and significant. Women's Nationals each year proves to be a model of healthy athletes of all ages competing in friendly competition. We have striven over the years to keep this program together because of its significance in terms of mentoring your athletes and because of the character of an all women's competition. This year's Women's National Championships will be held in mid-February in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Please plan on attending.
I was fortunate enough to attend the Collegiate Nationals this year and found it to be the positive experience that it always is. I was honored to coach the Naval Academy team for the second year and I'm sure feel the same way about these fine young people as the other coaches felt about their teams: passing our country and traditions on to young people like these makes me confident for the future.
The Master World Bench Championships was also held in this past spring, and with the Master's Powerlifting World Championships (October) showed the world we have the strongest old folks on the planet. (I am one of the old folks, so I am allowed to refer to them that way)!
This year, the North American Powerlifting Federation continued a run of success with the Regional Championships in Dorado, Puerto Rico. Our hosts did a magnificent job of staging the competition and making the all the athletes feel welcome. The competition was won by the U.S. (women) and Puerto Rico (Men). There were a number of other countries represented and there were many medals returning to nations that had never enjoyed success in any international powerlifting championship. This reflects the growth that the North American Region is experiencing. We added a Regional Bench Press Championships this year, and hope to offer several sub-regional level competitions in the next several years.
This year, for the first time in the history of the USA Powerlifting affiliation with the IPF, our Open Women's team won the World Championships. This is a testament to the hard work they've done over the years, and to the up and coming athletes who have broken into the international level. The men's team placed second to a strong team from Poland and look to only move higher in the future.
But, as great as these experiences are, the most rewarding part of being your President in 2006 were the opportunities I was given to meet the members of USA Powerlifting who labor away in gyms all over the country, improving workout by workout many of whom I won't see on a national or international platform. I attended two local level meets at home (Alaska) this year, the Pacific Open in Seattle, and the American Open in Palm Springs. At each of these competitions, many of the athletes were grass roots level lifters who participate for the love of the sport and for self improvement. I am always humbled watching the pure fun people have lifting locally and sometimes, I'm afraid that we forget why we started lifting: To enjoy ourselves, to set and achieve goals, and to spend time with a great bunch of people.
In the coming year, we look for continued growth, improving performances and greater reach across the country. Please come out to a competition, invite someone to try lifting, and let's make 2007 a successful, and most importantly, a fun year.
Happy holidays and best wishes for a prosperous new year,