Mike, By posting that I was not excusing drug use or saying that it doesn't exist. What I am saying is that before we look at drug use we should first look at ourselves and ask if we are doing all we can to be the best. Comparing the results of this years Senior Nationals to the world records as per 1969 - matching classes as close as possible for instance 67.5 vs. 69kg - No lifter would have exceeded the world record biathlon total of 1969 (I had subtracted the press to get the total) Taking into account the Pan-Am team only Kendrick Farris would have exceed the world record total in his class. My point is we need to look at the results and say we can get there too, not we need to get within 10% and use roids as an excuse for not getting closer. There are plenty of super strong people in the U.S. who could draw a bead on the world records weightlifting needs to do a better job of finding them.
Our problem, (more than international drug use) as always, is numbers. We need to expose the sport to more young kids and find a way to keep them. I think college scholarships are a must, as many potential weightlifters are lost to the scholarship chase. Mike, I agree 100%. IMO, the OTC is a miserable failure. The idea is good - bring together the best lifters to train together - however to bring them together and make them all listen to the same person is not - we do not have a coach with Ivan Abadjiev credentials. All U.S. lifters come from different backgrounds, brought up training a certain way and then to take them at 18 or older after years of training with someone and have them follow a new coach is illogical. I believe during Soviet training camps, the lifters followed their own routines and spent much of the year training in their home towns. What would be better is to use OTC money to provide scholarships to athletes - more like tuition vouchers - to allow them to pick where they would like to go to school, train where they want to train with who they want to train with. They could still have totals they would have to achieve in order to keep the voucher. This would also cut costs on paying coaches, I'm sure the money spent on the coaches at the OTC and NMU could go a long way to providing additional funding to athletes. After all who knows the lifters better than their own coaches? Also, our lifters need to do better at international contests, especially the world championships. Attached is a data table that shows the rather dismal performances at the worlds of late. It shows their best total in a domestic contest vs. their total at the worlds, the difference and also the effect it had or did not have on placing. If we even want to begin to hang with the big boys this area plus increased recruits needs to be addressed.Ryan
The numbers issue is not an excuse for our international ranking as a country. Bulgaria has never had more than 4-5 thousand lifters. Despite what people think it is not that popular of a sport over there. Why would it be? Very hard work, need to take drugs, no monetary support. Even Russia's numbers have dropped off a ton. I spoke to a former lifter who is now in his mid 30's that was raised in Medvedyev's sports school and he said powerlifting and bodybuilding overwhelm weightlifting as far as numbers go in Russia and there is very little monetary support for the weightlifters there either just like the USA. They literally need to find sponsors from former athletes that struck it big in the oil industry or to make money winning olympic / world medals to supplement their minimal stipends from the sports agency. The money for olympic medals is usually pretty good. It won't make them rich for life but it is a nice paycheck at a young age. From what I've read this is typically the norm in most countries. Also, I'll keep repeating this example over and over again, Georgia always produces good lifters and they can't even train in Georgia because they don't have the funds to build a proper weightlifting facility. They train in Poland and I doubt there are more weightlifters in Georgia than there are in the USA. Good coaching, good drugs, and a good reward system for elite athletes and you have a weightlifting team that will compete internationally. Remove one of those variables and it is impossible. Recruiting is important, but if you don't have those other three variables in place the athletes won't make it no matter how many you bring into the sport.
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