USA Weightlifting Hopes to Find New Talent With Online Combine

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 CummingsHarrison MaurusMattie 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.

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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.