Finding new talent to train is one of the most important aspects of any sport, and USA Weightlifting has had some pretty innovative ideas in the past. Last year they launched “development camps” around the country to look for, as USAW’s Director of Development Programs Suzy Sanchez put it, “the next CJ Cummings, Harrison Maurus, Mattie Rogers.”
This year they’ve added another interesting strategy: an online combine called “Next Weightlifting Star,” which will open to high school students aged 13 to 18 on March 14.
In the announcement on Team USA’s website, Sanchez said,
This is a great opportunity for students across America to show us what they’ve got. We hope to expose new athletes to our sport and we hope it will help us grow the strongest team in America.
So how does it work? Applicants will submit three videos of their top lifts in the bench press, squat, and power clean to this website, as well as a video of themselves weighing in. It’s important that the athletes show the barbells being loaded and that the weights are clearly visible. They also need to upload a picture of their school ID.
The videos will be evaluated by a team at USAW that includes 3-time Olympic Champion Pyrros Dimas and Assistant Technical Director at USA Weightlifting Mike Gattone.
[Read Gattone’s explanation of why weightlifting is for everyone in our introduction to weightlifting here.]
While the bench, squat, and power clean are technical movements, it’s commendable that USAW isn’t requiring untrained athletes to execute snatches and clean & jerks for their submissions. They’re starting with strength.
Another great part of the competition is that not only will the top athlete per weight category receive a trophy and an invitation to a camp at Rogue Fitness’ Columbus headquarters, but the best lifter overall will get a free set of weights and a barbell for their school.
The competition is free to enter and runs March 14 to April 16th.
Featured image via @usa_weightlifting on Instagram.
Editor’s Note: BarBend is the Official Media Partner of USA Weightlifting. The two organizations maintain editorial independence unless otherwise noted on specific content projects.