Phil Andrews: What’s Next for USA Weightlifting

Phil Andrews has been CEO of USA Weightlifting since early 2016. Under his leadership, America has broken long Olympic and World Championship medal droughts, established itself as an international weightlifting contender, and grown its staff with names like Pyrros Dimas. Of course, it takes a village, and Phil joins us to talk about the different leaders, athletes, and programs behind USAW’s journey to the Tokyo Olympics. We also chat anti-doping measures, hosting international competitions, and what America still lacks on the weightlifting front.

Note: BarBend is the Official Media Partner of USA Weightlifting. The two organizations maintain editorial independence, unless specified on partnership content. This piece was done in collaboration with USA Weightlifting.

In this episode of The BarBend Podcast, guest Phil Andrews and host David Thomas Tao discuss:

  • The travel schedule of USA Weightlifting’s CEO (3:30)
  • Phil’s responsibilities as CEO (4:44)
  • How Phil became CEO of USA Weightlifting (it’s a fascinating professional story that begins at the London Olympics) (7:02)
  • Changing perceptions of American weightlifting in the international community (11:08)
  • What Phil thinks still needs to be done regarding anti-doping measures in the US and abroad (17:42)
  • The surprising country that Phil thinks has made great strides in anti-doping measures (20:00)
  • Growing USA Weightlifting with new, international faces in leadership (25:30)
  • Bringing Pyrros Dimas into USA Weightlifting (28:03)
  • Working like you have something to prove (31:30)
  • Looking beyond the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (33:00)

Relevant links and further reading:

Transcription

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

 …is more than that though. It’s the general respect level we’ve seen for us when you go to the congresses. When you show up as Team USA. In any country, you are treated like a top nation. You are treated like a nation that has [inaudible 0:20] for what a better terminology, in the sports.

David TaoDavid Tao

Welcome to the BarBend podcast, where we talk to the smartest athletes, coaches and minds from around the world of strength. I’m your host, David Thomas Tao, and this podcast is presented by barbend.com.

Phil Andrews is an interesting case in the world of sports governance. A British national by birth, Phil moved to the United States following the 2012 London Olympic Games and soon thereafter became involved with the USA Weightlifting.

 

After several years organizing USAW’s national and international events, Phil rose to the rank of CEO, a position he’s held since early 2016. Full disclosure, BarBend is the official media partner of USA Weightlifting, so we often partner as an organization, and I work with Phil directly on a number of projects personally.

Under Phil’s leadership, USA Weightlifting has grown in a number of ways, and hit milestones many thought impossible in such a short timeframe. USAW elite athletes have earned an Olympic medal at Rio, ending a 16-year-long drought, several World Championships medals, including multiple golds, and a number of world records.

In addition, USAW has played host to the 2017 World Championships, and 2017 Pan-American Championships.

Phil’s team has grown to include Brazilian-born Events Organizer Pedro Meloni, and Greek weightlifting legend Pyrros Dimas, among several other talented and accomplished new faces in USAW’s organizational ranks.

But while USAW and its athletes, coaches, and leaders have accomplished a lot under Phil’s watch, the organization’s biggest test, and biggest barometer for success, is the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

What are Phil’s expectations for Tokyo? How can USAW measure success from one Olympic cycle to the next? How is American weightlifting perceived on the international stage these days? Which competing countries take us seriously? Where are we still coming up short?

What are Phil’s expectations beyond Tokyo, for the 2024 Olympics, and even after that? We get to those questions and more in this episode.

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Phil Andrews, thank you so much for joining us today. It’s always a pleasure to chat.

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

Hi David, how you doing?

David TaoDavid Tao

I can’t complain too much. As of this recording, I know we’re between a pretty busy series of travel and events for you, so it’s nice to catch you when you’re back stateside for a little bit. What is your travel schedule look like this year?

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

It’s funny, I’ve actually done less travel this year than I have done in the last couple of years, which has been, it’s been nice. It’s partly because other members of my team are taking up some of that travel.

Partly because we hosted the Youth World rather than us traveling to it and partly because I didn’t actually make it to Pattaya for the IWF Congress, because we had the USOC Congress, or USOPC Congress, I apologize, here in Colorado Springs, which meant I could sleep in my own bed at night.

It’s a little less than usual, but I’m about to go into some heavy travel at the end of the year. It’s been nice to be home, that’s for sure. A good colleague of mine once said, “I can’t wait till I retire so I can see all the places I’ve been.”

David TaoDavid Tao

 [laughs] Now, this will be the Tokyo Olympics occurring next year. We’re recording this in September 2019. The Tokyo Olympics coming up in 2020. That will be your second Olympic Games in your current position. How has your travel schedule and just your general disposition changed now compared to that previous quad where you were involved in 2016?

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

Well, as most know, I used to be a director for events and programs. I did a lot of domestic travel before the 2016 Olympic Games. I was on the road probably 30 to 40 percent of my time, maybe a little more. All that’s done by Pedro Meloni now, so I don’t do anywhere close to as much. I go to our events, but I don’t do the conferences.

I don’t go to the site visit, all the stuff that goes into being an events director. Now, I do a lot more international travels. I’m a lot more involved in the behind the scenes administration of international weightlifting than I was back then.

Plus, of course in representing our Federation, USA Weightlifting, not just abroad but also domestically here in the US — various different conferences related to governance, related to anti-doping, related to safe sport, related to the USOPC, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

I am now involved in helping some other national governing bodies do some of the things they do as well.

The travel certainly got more. I thought I might travel less as a CEO, and I don’t know why I thought that. It’s gained a lot of ground. A lot of that is being very politically active within the IWS and within getting our message — especially that around clean sport — heard around the world.

I’m really being a team player as well in the United States in the IWF. I’m showing that we’re a nation that is willing to be a contributor to the sport.

That comes out a number of different ways from helping federations with what they’re doing, helping with how they’re run and what they can learn from us in being able to re-establish ourselves without funding from the government.

Or in our case, from the USOC all the way through to the election campaigns for the IWF Pan-American Federation, all the way through to hosting Worlds and Youth Worlds and potentially in the future, more Juniors Pan Ams and perhaps another World Championships in the years to come.

David TaoDavid Tao

As you mentioned, before becoming the CEO of USA Weightlifting you were managing events and were the events director. Tell us a little bit about how you got involved with USA Weightlifting, because your professional history is interesting.

You’re a Brit by birth and nationality, now an American citizen, congratulations on that. How does a British man with a background in hockey come to become the CEO of USA Weightlifting?

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

There’s and interesting history to it. I ran something called The High-Performance Training Center in the London 2012 Games. What that is is basically the main training center for the entire US Olympic Team.

We had the Media Center there. We had the Training Center there. We had housing. We had food and beverage. We had 31 other Olympic or Paralympic clients. [inaudible 7:44] which ranges from different Olympic or Paralympic committees to sponsors of the games to…we host Essex House, for example.

Over the course of that time I got to meet a number of people from the USOPC or then the USOC.

David TaoDavid Tao

You were still living in Britain at the time. You were based out of there entirely. You hadn’t moved to the US.

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

Yes, exactly. Based in London and then I met my, long story short, now wife, who then worked for the USOC or the USOPC as it is now. She was there in London for a long time. After the games I had some opportunities here in the US and made the decision to move here.

I sat down in the very, very early January of 2013 with a colleague of mine from the USOPC and asked, “Who needed help?” At that time, the answer was weightlifting. Along with a few others I came here, realized that CrossFit especially was really growing into sport. There was an opportunity to make a difference.

Then I really became full time in June with USA Weightlifting and haven’t looked back since. I steered myself into the sport. Most people in the Olympic movement now think I’m a weightlifter. They clearly have never seen me snatch if that’s the case.

It’s been a journey. It’s been a very, very interesting way to get into this. In fact, there’s actually four national governing bodies in the US with British CEOs — field hockey, taekwondo, OSC weightlifting and rugby. Rugby and field hockey are from those sports. Taekwondo and us, we’re outside of those sports.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s the secret British invasion all over again.

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

It is. People keep on calling that out so we’re clearly not doing a good job of that.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s because you are so friendly and amicable. You know so many people. You make friends easily and people notice you. You have to be more inconspicuous next time. That’s the key. [laughs]

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

I’ll try. We’ll do it up with Louisiana accents.

David TaoDavid Tao

[laughs] You joined USA weightlifting in 2013. You become acting CEO and then CEO in a more permanent capacity in early 2016. Is that correct, end of 2015, early 2016?

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

Right on the end of December 2015 I would became acting CEO and then April 2016 [inaudible 10:19] .

David TaoDavid Tao

You’ve been CEO effectively since right before the Rio Olympics. Here we are over three years later gearing up for Tokyo and it’s been a pretty busy time for USA Weightlifting and the sports prominence in mainstream American societies obviously increased a lot due CrossFit as you and I have talked about numerous times at numerous events over the years.

Also our success on the international stage obviously ending the middle drought in the Rio Olympics serial place winning a bronze medal in the women super heavyweight category. A huge time we’ve had several worlds medalist. Since then, we’re recording this before the 2019 World Championships so we might be adding further to that medal count.

As someone who represents USA weightlifting on the international stage, how has perception of the sport changed among our competitors from other countries and how do those governing bodies see USA Weightlifting now versus how they saw it in the 2000s or even the early 2010s?

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

Yeah, I missed, there’s probably two ways to answer to that question, there’s the perception amongst our Olympic-driven colleagues in the United States and there’s perception amongst the International Weightlifting Federation [inaudible 11:40] .

I think since 2015 we’ve really made a huge effort to be active internationally and that’s being recognized not only in the award of the 17th World Championships in the 2019 Youth World Championships in the United States, but also in the fact that we have more governance positions in the IWF than almost any other national governing body [inaudible 12:02] US sport.

I sit on the commission, Paula Aranda sits on the commission, Ursula Papandrea and Pyrros Dimas is both on the executive board. We have a lot of areas in the Marc Lavelle’s only medical committee. Karl Pierce is on the coaching committee etc, etc ,etc.

We’ve got a lot of places where the US is actively recognized by our fellow member federations. What is more in that though is the general respect level we’ve seen for us when you go to the congresses when you show up as team USA in any country you’re treated like it’s [inaudible 12:41] .

You’re treated like a nation that has “oomph” for what a better terminology in this sport, which is incredible difference to where we were in 2015 even when we hosted Worlds where we were not that well respected as a member federation by either the IWF itself or the member federations.

A friend of mine from Indonesia describes this as the awakening of the giant over the last few years. That’s the phrase coming to mind. We’re arguably the leading Pan-American country certainly competitive or that title with Columbia on the field of play. Influence is hugely growing all through the field of play.

In the IWF, we’re now seeing how women typically placed amongst top 5. In terms of the theme, we’re seeing medals consistently around our women’s necks and of course we have some pretty good men right now especially CJ and Harrison.

We have Wes Kitts in that mix as well who are really doing very well on the international stage on the field of play and again, we’re still seeing that off of the field of play where we’re asked for our expertise, we’re asked for our input, we’re asked for our views on what we want to do with the sport.

That’s manifested itself in some real terms. In terms of the anti-doping action and in some of the ways that the sport changed have come from us or we’ve been significantly influential in. Some say other countries have them as well, but having a voice at least helps. It’s our [inaudible 14:18] in some intangible ways as well.

Again, the way that we’re treated when we show up as team USA, not just myself and Ursula and others who are involved in the IWF, but the way that team USA itself is viewed and treated. We’re now a major player in weightlifting world and our athletes are given respect due to that.

David TaoDavid Tao

This is going in the other direction, do you think anyone has been displeased or has anyone expressed displeasure of frustration with USA Weightlifting’s success in the field of play? Any traditionally competitive nations who you think might not be super happy to see our women especially winning medals but our men also contending?

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

think that’s fair, very few people will express that directly, but ultimately if you’re winning a medal when somebody else used to win a medal, there’s a clear cost. As we’ve seen the anti-doping action particularly take hold there’s some countries seeing less and less medals. They don’t generally point the finger directly at the US but we are clearly involved in that.

We have a very friendly and good relationship with Columbia where arguably now, we’re at least very threatening if not, you could argue we’ve surpassed Columbia as the number one nation in Pan-Ams. Elsewhere in the world there’s some interest in how we’ve changed.

There is still some people who give us…derogatory comments might be too strong about our model. We’d show up with a personal coach for everybody, but you know what? That’s our model, we’re successful with it and we’re beating them with it.

The answer really comes from the field of play where we’ve pushed our concentration into the field in the decentralized training, centralized leadership model what we have and we’ve really seen success with that.

That’s credit to our athletes and our coaches first and foremost. One of the things I think has got a little bit lost is everybody says, “Well, the doping patrol has got a lot better and that’s why the US is doing better.” Yeah, I agree. However, our athletes and our coaches had done the real work, too.

We’re improving at a faster rate than some of the other you would say, trustworthy clean nations, where they have a strong anti-doping program domestic. We’re moving up at a faster rate, that’s where our athletes and our coaches deserve real credit in what they’ve done.

The other thing by the way you’re seeing is a lot more US officials on the field of play as a [inaudible 16:59] . You’re seeing US officials in a lot of meets worldwide and even on the speakers table and in press box. Everywhere like that US is starting to gain more influence and more respect from other nations and don’t forget, non-US people have to make those decisions.

I think you’re right, there are some who say, “Well, we don’t really like the US being more successful because we’re being less successful,” but they’re few and far between. There are people for sure who are fighting back against the anti-doping reforms. It makes sense they’re suffering as a result.

Ultimately for the sport to survive those have to continue and I think the majority of nations appreciate that.

David TaoDavid Tao

What work do you think still needs to be done regarding anti-doping measures? Now, this is something where I don’t want to necessarily take a normative stance and judge what has been done, what hasn’t been done necessarily.

From your perspective as a CEO of USA Weightlifting, someone who is very heavily involved and connected with the folks who are governing the sport internationally, what do you think still need to be done, regarding doping controls and anti-doping measures on the international scale?

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

I think a little measures are in place now. We outsourced our doping selections to the international testing authority, which is owned and set up by the IOC, the International Olympic Committee, who have an interest in keeping the games clean.

We’ve spent more money than ever on anti-doping, that needs to continue. We have an International Member Federation’s sanctioning panel which sanctioned Egypt recently. We made one appeal to CAS. I think by the time this comes out that appeal will be known whether it’s successful or not.

We don’t know that as we talk today, but that shows that the new [inaudible 19:02] that cause Egypt are on the executive board. It’s impossible for the executive board to adjudicate that case fairly reasonably because they have a conflict of interest.

I think more of the same to an extent, keeping those going, keeping those reforms going. What’s really needed is the domestic cultural change for some of these nations. Understanding how to train their athletes clean, how to modify their training programs so they are no longer requiring the level of training that the drugged athlete is able to do.

That’s really what’s going to change long term. You are going to see positives still come out from coaches who were not learning that, from nations who aren’t learning that. But as we continue to punish those nations who do consistently dope on the international stage, like Thailand and Egypt.

We have to point and say, “OK, actually nations are doing a good job and reforming.” Right now I’d say the best example is actually Russia which is probably surprise for people to hear me say that.

You have to say, based on what I’ve seen, based on the actions they’ve taken, based on the testing results so far, I believe Maxina [inaudible 20:19] has done a decent job of reforming The Russian Weight Lifting Federation.

That isn’t to say they don’t have problems. That isn’t to say they won’t have positives. That isn’t to say there isn’t personal coaches in Russia who might be still doping their athletes, that may well be the case.

He has done a good job in changing his country’s perspective, rather than some country’s who’ve not got there yet. Obviously, perhaps the best example right now is China.

David TaoDavid Tao

Now you say that a lot of anti-doping measures begin domestically, or at least the effectiveness of those programs, and of those measures begins domestically.

The United States is a country that is not without its own history of cross-sports, not just weightlifting, of doping violations and athletes who have been caught on the top stages in multiply sports.

Where do you think that United States is potentially still weak when it comes to domestic doping controls, and how can we improve? Particularly in the sport of weightlifting. I mentioned some other sports there, just to blow it up, that’s more because a lot of those prominent cases have occurred in other Olympic sports, because weightlifting largely hasn’t been the most popular sport in America for a long time.

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

I have to say, USA power-lifting’s done a good job of that. Part of the reason they’re able to do that, is they do a lot of their testing outside of the USODR network. They have a reduced cost because they’re not using the accredited laboratories that we are.

That’s a good thing. They test seven percent of all of their competitions, I think it is. Seven percent of every competitor, every competition. They’re able to therefore identify those people domestically, and keep their competition a little bit cleaner. Their protocol on the international stage has to be a little bit more robust with the national anti-doping agencies of the country.

At the same time, you’ve got the USA PO doing a really good job of keeping their competition [inaudible 23:25] clean. Aside from that, if you think about the NFL, the NCAA, the MLB, etc. I think the MLB is arguably the leading league of those.

David TaoDavid Tao

 I’m definitely more focused and curious on your thoughts when it comes to the Olympic sports by the way. I should have clarified that here.

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

If think about anti-doping has three main tenants. One is education, one is testing, and one is sanctioning. I think overall in the US we do a pretty good job of all three of those tenants. I do think that one area we could really improve in the United States is by taking that down a level into local meets in our case. Local races in cycling and track, or in triathlon.

Overall, we do a pretty good job. Certainly cycling in particular have put resources behind getting that further down into the local meets. If you look at our positives, that’s where a lot of them come from. It’s generally not people in the RTP, the Random Testing Poll. That means it’s generally outside of your very top athletes who are routinely getting tested.

David TaoDavid Tao

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about the changing faces of USA Weightlifting is the increasingly international nature of the USA Weightlifting team as compared to pre-Rio Olympics. Obviously, you coming on taking the position of CEO. That’s an international face and a voice. Pedro Meloni joining as events director after you vacated that position to move to the CEO spot.

Then Pyrros Dimas coming on as well. Obviously, a name that every weightlifting fan under the sun has heard of. Someone, who 10 years ago, when I was first developing an interest in the sport, I would have never thought would have been involved in USA Weightlifting at a governance level…at this high level.

What has been the main factor in making USA Weightlifting more international? Has that been intentional? Has it been a product of just finding the best people, no matter where they come from?

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

I think it’s the latter. The best people, no matter where they come from. We have a vast majority of Americans on our staff. I’m obviously an American citizen now, but I understand what you’re saying.

Yes, we have two staff who are not from the United States. I think Pedro is likely the best in the world at what he does. If asked, we offer him up to nations he had a hand in [inaudible 26:38] .

As to world championships last year, he had a hand in the Fiji Junior World Championships. He’s called upon domestically and internationally for expertise in what he does. He’s really done a very good job with the events side.

When I left the events side, I’d set up the events model. I treated it as my baby. I wanted somebody to come in and frankly kick my butt at what I did. Pedro fits that bill. He’s also got a great temperament. I find with running events you have to be able to take the rough with the smooth. It’s not an easy job.

There’s lots of logistics, weightlifting especially, because of the equipment. Because the nature of the beast requires a great deal of attention to detail. I think Pedro does provide that. That’s why we went after him.

There’s other people who can do that job, sure, but Pedro has a proven track record of running weightlifting events. Also had influence in the international sphere as well. It helps that when we’re bidding on a world champion — whether that be youth or senior — when Pedro Meloni’s heading up your group for the organization of it that commands respect.

It’s another way in which we’ve gained ground on other countries in level of respect in the International [inaudible 27:59] . That’s a secondary thing, but it definitely helped.

With Pyrros, we can’t compare because he’s Pyrros Dimas. I really don’t think that needs that much more explanation than, he’s Pyrros Dimas. This is a dude who instead of providing a identification card as a driver’s license or a passport, has simply brought his own Wikipedia page.

David TaoDavid Tao

Not to question his tried and true weightlifting credentials, I think my focus is more on, do you think there’s a specific benefit?

You answered this a bit in talking about Pedro’s qualifications in his expertise. Is there a specific benefit to bringing people with that direct experience from other international governing bodies, or from other nation’s governing bodies, seeing what works and doesn’t work?

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

I think Pedro, having the experience of the Olympic Games really does help. That was secondary to his ability to run our event.

With Pyrros, we were, I think it would be fair to say, a little bit fractured in the last quarter as a federation. The one thing Pyrros brings is the level of respect with being Pyrros Dimas. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with him or not, you at least hear him out. I mean, you might have that debate with him.

Pyrros is a great person. He’s turned out to be a phenomenal warm-up routine coach, fantastic. I think he really does do well at relationships with our lifters, with our coaches. The only thing is, and again Pyrros does have influence overseas.

A lot of people even in the media world know who Pyrros Dimas is because of our focus and what happened there and the 10-minute applause for a bronze-medalist which is almost unheard of. Pyrros certainly brings a huge range of benefits to our federation that just otherwise aren’t there.

I think he also is another way of our federation putting our stall out and saying, “This is who we are. We are determined to be the best in the world.” Pyrros Dimas was willing to put his trust in us to establish ourselves as the best in the world because he’s got something to prove.

Pyrros Dimas is known as a great lifter. He’s not yet known as a great coach, or a great technical director which is the official title here. He doesn’t coach with us in the gym every day. His job is to be more centralized than that. That’s our motto. It’s very unique in the world, no one else does it.

He’s fitted really well. He’s understood that and the cultural differences between centralized program and what we do, that took a while, but we’re really over that line. He has brought a number of skills both obvious and not so obvious to us. Yes, it helps that he was already on the executive board and he got reelected after he joined us…

 

David TaoDavid Tao

This is the executive board for the International Weightlifting Federation, just to clarify.

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

Correct, representing Greece. He’s also on the IWF’s athlete commission and he’s involved with the IFC’s athlete commission, so there’s certainly some really impressive things that Pyrros brings.

[inaudible 31:04] , he used to be the minister of sport for Greece, which obviously brings some interesting programming experience into this. Of course, Greek Americans know who Pyrros is, which is helpful to us.

That’s an area perhaps we haven’t done as good a job as we should have done in getting the word out to Greek Americans that’s something we need to work on. I think Pyrros brings a lot of benefits by the fact he is Pyrros Dimas.

One of the things you might notice about a lot of the people we’ve hired, I think this speaks to our staff culture, is we’ve got something to prove. We’re going to go out there and prove it can be done. You can, in the United States, in the USOPP’s system, move an NGB’s needle from here to here. I think that’s what we’re doing.

Pyrros is part of that. He wants to prove that he’s more…he’s not a, I hate to say this, Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky was a phenomenal skater, unbelievable, but he was never good when he got behind the bench in our keep. I think Pyrros wants to prove that he can contribute outside the field of play and I think he is doing that.

David TaoDavid Tao

This is maybe getting a little bit ahead and I don’t want to harp too much more on goals for the Tokyo Olympics. I know that it’s something you’ve talked about very publicly, the motto “It can be done.” Obviously, the goal there is to come up with as much hardware for USA weightlifting as is humanly possible. We know that is the focus heading into 2020.

Beyond this quad, what goals do you personally have for USA weightlifting?

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

I think as we head into the next quad, it’s no secret that CrossFit has become a huge, huge fitness activity here in the United States. It’s also fairly well-known that it’s not growing as much as it was in the US. We have to put some effort into marketing over the next four years.

We’ve really been in a win now mentality, at least for the last year, and we will do it into the games. We need to focus a lot more energy than we have been doing in the last few months into our youth junior developmental activities into the sport.

I think that the sport itself needs to stabilize. We may or may not see more reduction in traditional sports in the Olympic games, like wrestling, weightlifting, fencing, rowing. There’s more and more sports coming into the game. I don’t think that will be a surprise to see that happen for weightlifting, which means we will have more concentrated opportunities in the Olympic Games. That’s it.

We need to obviously maintain [inaudible 33:54] . Let’s say [inaudible 33:54]. Let’s assume that. We need to maintain that position. I think we’ve got the athletes in the pipeline that are ready to do that. Many of the team that we look very likely to send to the games, are very young. They’re still juniors, and in a couple of cases, the obvious ones being CJ and Harrison, they’ll still be juniors next year.

We’ve got a lot of athletes aged down to 25 who are either likely to go to the Olympics or are already on the world team or have just got off of it, which is very good for the next quad. We’ve got to make sure we don’t concentrate on 24 others at the cost of 28 or 32. I think on the domestic level we need to continue to find ways to innovate and get our word out there.

We’ve been very lucky to have this board at CrossFit come in and help us with some of that. We need to make sure that we’re supporting quads in the field, that we’re supporting coaches to make a living, we’re supporting athletes. We continue to support athletes, we’ve got a huge athlete’s [inaudible 34:51] budget right now, that needs to continue to support them in being a full-time weightlifter.

At the same time, we need to make sure we’re putting new weightlifters into those gyms. We have to remember that the 65-year-old grandmother that walks into your gym is able to complete a snatch. Maybe goes to a master’s meet or two. They’re just as much a member of USA weightlifting as CJ Cummings or Kate Harrison.

I think that’s a really important thing to remember as we go into the next quad and we try to continue a growth of our sport in a market which is starting to saturate.

Those are some challenges and then we have financial challenges too of, “We’ve made our money from coaching education. Maybe we’re going to get some money from the Olympic Committee now because of our success in Tokyo.” How sustainable is that revenue source? I believe it is reasonably sustainable.

We’ve got to do more work to retain the same dollar around than we were in this course. That’s the challenge, is marketing our sport, continuing to grow in our sport, refueling the pipeline, and then on the field-of-play essentially maintaining where we are. If we’re getting towards the top, please maintain that.

David TaoDavid Tao

Phil, it has been an absolute pleasure getting to chat with you. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you over the last few years obviously in BarBend…

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

Thank you man, same way.

David TaoDavid Tao

 …BarBend’s work with USA Weightlifting and vice versa. We know where and this will be in the show notes where folks can follow along with Team USA and USA Weightlifting. Where can folks follow along with what you’re doing, your travels, your preparations for Tokyo, on social media?

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

Instagram is usually the best way. I do pretty regularly Q&As on there to keep in touch with people. That’s a.phil on Instagram. I’ve just joined Twitter, believe it or not, in the last month. I’m at @PhilAndrewsUSA on that.

David TaoDavid Tao

Well, I know who I’m going to follow right after I’m done with this recording. I didn’t even realize you were on Twitter yet so that’s perfect. Awesome. Well, Phil, thank you so much for joining us. Look forward to chatting again soon.

Phil AndrewsPhil Andrews

Likewise. Thank you very much.

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