USA Powerlifting Case Against IPF Moves to Court of Arbitration for Sport

USAPL seeks to overturn the decision that the IPF made to not recognize world-record lifts hit at the 2020 Arnold Sports Festival.

On Feb. 15, 2021, USA Powerlifting (USAPL) shared a press release stating that their appeal against the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) to recognize world-record lifts successfully hit at the 2020 Arnold Sports Festival (ASF) will move to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

In the press release, USAPL states that “the case is an appeal challenging the IPF’s decision not to recognize the world records earned by nine powerlifting athletes at the 2020 ASF.” The case has already made its way through both the IPF Court of Justice and the IPF Court of Appeals. The athletes in question were not named in the release.


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A post shared by USA Powerlifting® (USAPL) (@usapowerlifting)

[Related: Powerlifter Alex Maher Deadlifts All-Time World Record 347.5 Kilograms at 75 KG]

Sanctioned or Not?

This case came about after the IPF sent a letter to USAPL Executive Director Priscilla Ribic stating that the North American Powerlifting Federation (NAPF) and USAPL sanctioned competitions that took place at the 2020 ASF were not recognized by the IPF. The letter — which has since been removed from the IPF’s website — shared the IPF’s reasoning as “the event in question here was not sanctioned by the IPF and not on its calendar. The NAPF and USAPL did not seek sanction from the IPF for this event despite article 12.1.7 in the IPF Constitution.”

Article 12.1.7 of the IPF constitution states: “Regional Federations cannot issue permits for competitions other than their own regional championships and regional events open for two or more nations of that Region and must also be sanctioned by the IPF.” According to the IPF, neither USAPL nor NAPF communicated to the IPF that they wanted their events at the ASF to be IPF sanctioned. Therefore, no such Anti-Doping Authority was assigned.

When reached out for comment by BarBend in 2020, Ribic said, “The IPF leadership was well aware of the ASF Powerlifting events, as it has been under the IPF umbrella since 2009. Members of the IPF Executive Committee, including the IPF President, have attended and officiated in the past. We are prepared to take this to the highest level, the Court of Arbitration for Sports if necessary.”

The formal complaint was filed with the IPF Court of Justice (along with the 500 Euro, or $538.70, filing fee) on April 23, 2020.


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A post shared by Ashton Rouska (@wreck_it_rouska)

[Related: Powerlifter Heather Connor Squats 147.5 Kilograms, 5 KG Above American Record]

Athletes Affected

93-kilogram powerlifter Ashton Rouska is one of the athletes with a lot to gain if USAPL and NAPF events from the 2020 ASF are recognized. His performance at the NAPF Arnold Grand Prix by SBD saw him score two would-be world records. Here were his relevant stats:

  • Squat331.5 kilograms (730.8 pounds) – would-be World Record
  • Total – 880.9 kilograms (1,942 pounds) – would-be World Record

The IPF equipped squat world record is currently recorded as 505 kilograms (1,113.3 pounds) by Blaine Sumner. However, they did share his 515-kilogram (1,135.4-pound) squat from the 2020 ASF on their Instagram page with the caption “515kg World Record Squat by Blaine Sumner @thevanillagorilla92. He also added a WR Bench of 426kg and WR Total of 1296kg!” That post is still live, but none of those lifts are recognized as official IPF records.

BarBend has reached out to USAPL for the names of the other powerlifters who successfully hit lifts that would be considered records should the IPF recognize the events in question. We will update this article accordingly.

Featured image: @wreck_it_rouska on Instagram