This past weekend there were over 700, 731 to be exact, young athletes show up to The National Youth Championships in Austin, Texas. It was a great weekend with some amazing athletes. The biggest take away was how many of them qualified. To see so many young people interested in the sport of weightlifting was so great to see. To watch these young kids be so passionate about a sport that, until recently, has seen very little interest in our country. What I witnessed was nothing short of exciting and filled me with so much pride. I saw 16 and 17 year olds clean and jerk over 100kg/200#. I watched a 14 year old girl snatch 84kg/185#. These kids are doing amazing things and putting up higher numbers than most 20 year olds i’ve seen. I, like most people, never got involved in the sport of Weightlifting until I started doing CrossFit. Although I still consider myself a CrossFitter, I am hooked on this sport as well. One thing that has always gotten me about this sport is the lack of interest in America. I consider myself a red blooded American though and through. I love my country and I love sports and I want to see my country excel in all variations of fitness and sports. For the 1st time since getting involved, I can see a future for our country in weightlifting. Just yesterday, I watched CJ Cummings set a junior world record and a senior American record on the clean and jerk for his weight class. You will find female athletes like Mattie Rogers and Jessica Lucero setting multiple records in meets and lift heavier weights than most males their age. These are amazing athletes to watch. We have to keep our youth interested in this sport. Weightlifting, like most sports, has to be trained and developed when these kids are young. We can't wait until we are in our 20's and 30's and expect to compete with the rest of the world. We as a country have to get rid of this fallacy that lifting weights are dangerous. It really angers me when people who have no background in strength and conditioning try to tell us that lifting weights is dangerous for young kids. Weightlifting is statistically safer than football and basketball, yet we don't see people warning us that these sports are dangerous. As with any physical activity, there is a degree of danger; but with proper coaching, that risk is dramatically reduced. We have some stellar weightlifting coaches here in America and I'm proud to say we have some great coaches here in Tennessee. This was very evident as we had multiple athletes at the National Youth Championships from the state.
I am extremely proud to say that the future of Weightlifting in America is bright. We have some top level athletes coming out from our younger age groups. I just hope to increase the interest in the sport to kids in our community and develop athletes in future national level competitors and if we are really lucky a future Olympian.