Does Powerlifting Belong in the Olympics

Does Powerlifting Belong in the Olympics

Aug 22, 2016

I discovered that the Olympics had occurred the past few weeks.  Something about the USA dominating, a few swimmers trashing a gas station bathroom, most Russian athletes banned from the games and almost double the gold medals than other countries.  I guess I missed most of it.

Yes, you can read into this that after the 2016 Summer Olympics I am less of a fan.

Just kidding – I signed up as a journalist to receive information and did my best to find information on what was going on.  I pretty much gave up as much of the information I was looking for was there and gone.  I have to say, NBC did a rather poor job for 2016 considering all of the social media and other media that they used.  I tried to keep up on satellite radio only to listen to more than half of the broadcast being warnings about what would happen to you if you copied and re-broadcast information.  The result – not a lot of information or coverage.

My critique would be for NBC to let it loose and keep their logo on everything.  However, between the contracted media and IoC focusing on appearance (there was a point where in some countries gyms were sent letters if they dared use the term Olympic or Olympics in their name or description) versus the sports.  I am sure there isn’t a financial reason in there somewhere (smirk).


^^I used this picture because, apparently, even as a journalist you cannot use pictures of the Olympics^^

The information I received from the journalist news releases was an average of 1-4 athletes every few days from the 2008 and 2012 games that were banned, or ordered to return their medals, while testing was re-performed on the samples from that time.  Russian athletes were guilty until proven innocent concerning their drug-free status due to government tampering in testing, something I remember being discussed when I was in high school in the 1980s, so I was confused why this was considered a revelation.  The true disappointment was that many of the Russian athletes were always the ones that primarily challenged the USA for Olympic dominance.  I think this was my biggest disappointment – an organization that prides itself on a drug-free platform appears to have been unable to ensure that was the case and has to go back after the fact, up to 8 years later, robbing the real place-holders from their moment.  I’m sure they are proud, but receiving your medal in the mail without fanfare?

TV coverage consisted primarily of highlights, track and field, gymnastics (yes, I did watch the ‘final five’ kick butt), steeplechase (really?), women’s volleyball (camera angles and uniforms – was this actually about the sport or getting more men to watch – seriously, while watching the USA vs Australia the slow-motion down-shirt of one of the athlete competitors would have been banned on most social media) and pellet-gun shooting (no comment).  Most of the medal ceremonies were not broadcast and you had to hunt for weightlifting information.  The only discussion seemed to be how female weightlifters were ‘fat’ or ‘too manly,’ with less celebration about their accomplishments.  I was going to talk to this more, but apparently keeping online updates for weightlifting, especially for the women, was too difficult for the Olympics website.

In the meantime, I watched a number of the IoC meetings on their YouTube live stream, which, by the way, caused a little havoc with other live stream events, and watched as politics took greater priority than the athletes.  My overall feeling from watching live was a bit of a paradigm shift from a focus on demonstrating athletics, and the athletes, to nitpicking and politics.

So, the real question – Powerlifting is a sport in which there is not a lot of potential money or fame.  It is a wide-open sport in which athletes can pick and choose how and why they want to perform with the marketplace determining the direction.  For the most part it is a sport that is about the athlete and, if the athlete chooses, to switch between organizations such that they  do not find themselves suddenly banned from being able to perform across the board.

With the lack of money or fame associated with the sport the participants tend to treat each other as a brotherhood instead of competition.  It is not that unusual to watch competitors from different gyms, or countries, support each other during competition.  What happens to this environment when athletes are now focused on making it on to the national stage only to receive the same amount of fanfare they receive now. Will money, recognition or endorsements line up for the powerlifter?

I suspect that one or two might receive recognition but, for the most part, it wouldn’t be that much different than performing in any one of the larger annual world competitions now.

I also highly recommend you review the counterpoint to this article:


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