A Critical Look at the 2015 US Nationals

Recently we looked at the success rate of Team USA at the Junior World Championships and at the Pan American Games. Although not a desirable trait, a low success rate can be expected when one is dealing with a relatively inexperienced international lifter.

But when lifting in a national championship we might expect somewhat more positive results. Although I did not attend the recent USAW National Championships I did take a critical look at the success rate, the bomb-out numbers, and how many lifters failed to make the qualifying total. Injuries may be a factor for which I have no details, as the scoring system does not designate such cases.

The Dallas event was billed as "the largest ever" (and thus, "the most exciting ever") USAW National Championship. While the first comment is true, I'm not sure that another marathon event on three platforms increases the drama.

As previously mentioned the trend toward huge participant numbers appears to be the new normal. This is great for those that benefit from the larger entry fees, but is it reflective of a truly national championship? Shouldn’t this be reserved for the best of the best?

Some have suggested a Nationals in which the best 10 lifters in each of the eight men’s and seven women's bodyweight categories (total of 150) would be an excellent two- or three-day event in which tight competition would showcase our finest. But, that would exclude some 300 "also-ran" lifters paying an entry fee of say $50, or a total of $15,000.

Of 452 entries it looks like only 394 lifters weighed in. That's 58 X $50 = $2,900 of easy income!

Of those that totaled 82 (21%) failed to make the qualifying total. Another 72 (18%) bombed out. That’s a lot of red on the scoreboard!

Some of these bombs were no doubt attempting heavy enough efforts to make the qualifying total, which I imagine they had legitimately performed in order to qualify.

Others that bombed were certainly qualified, and were expected to be on the podium. This list includes, Vardanian, Burns, Garcia, and Maier.

Cummings, Fleming, Seegert, De la Cruz, and Rogers turned in nice record performances. Well done!

USAW continues to celebrate by noting lifters who make all their lifts (6 for 6). This includes winners Cummings and Wilkes. I hear the rubber band bracelets are no longer handed out. Progress.