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There are a lot of people who go into the making of a national meet (both figuratively and literally: the weightlifting gods demand human sacrifice, and their ashes are mixed with the chalk in a gesture of appeasement). Caleb Williams: his 174-kilo clean and jerk, which shattered his own American Record, is a legitimate world class lift. Travis Cooper, James Tatum, Chad Vaughn: Remember when Travis Cooper was a 94-kilo junior lifter whose technique resembled that of a silverback gorilla attempting to forage for bananas under a fallen tree?
John McGovern: in the hype of the 94s the impressive lifting by the 85-kilo Champion—147 and 190—was almost overshadowed.
Colin Burns: In the 94s I have to limit myself here to the National Champion, because there were so many talented athletes in the session. Looking back (can we already look back?), the Nationals this weekend—and perhaps the 94 session in particular, when there were literally thousands of people trying to watch American lifters on the live stream—appear to be a seminal moment in the history of this sport, something noted by Nick Frasca (one of the people behind the 2012 American Open) in an exchange we had online. The 94s—and the entire, sun-baked weekend in Salt Lake City—have the possibility to be seen as one of those moments in history. The hard part, of course, is to make sure the current wave of enthusiasm doesn’t break too soon, before it’s had a chance to build sufficient momentum. This entry was posted in olympic weightlifting, travel and tagged 2014 nationals, klokov, olympic weightlifting, usaw. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. This test is a coordinated effort by FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Association) and the FCC (the Federal Communications Commission) and the goal is to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the alert, which although initially designed in the 1950s, has never actually gone through fully nationwide test. The (now dated) broadcast test symbol that lets the public know when the nation is under alert. If this had been an actual emergency, the Attention Signal you just heard would have been followed by official information, news or instructions. In recent years the Emergency Broadcast System has been overhauled and renamed the Emergency Alert System. Wednesdays test utilized the power of broadcast radio and television stations, cable television, satellite radio and television services, and wireline video service providers across all states and the U.S. Leesville Road knocked off last years state champs (Panther Creek) tonight in the rain on their home opener.
The 2014 Nationals, by almost any standard or measurement (except, perhaps, radioactivity) were a resounding, unqualified, spectacular success. The other critical piece—without which there wouldn’t even be a National Championships—is, of course, Mike Graber.

Also, in an extraordinary lack of foresight, I totally discounted this guy as a medal contender in the total. That’s what my hand felt like as it slipped in between the mountain range known as Klokov’s erectors for our picture.
It can be a strange thing to realize you might be right in one of those moments: living it, contributing to it, and watching it unfold before your eyes.
Weightlifting, for all its reliance on quick, microsecond bursts of power and activity, is a sport that demands patience and time. Naturally, they want to confirm that the system will work should they need to alert a large region of the US to an emergency.  Okey-doke. Our are is served by our local radio station, Kibco Broadcasting (WNAE-WRRN) They are supposed to be part of the Emergency Boradcast System, but everytime we get a thunderstorn, they get knocked off the air. Remember, if you will, a time not long ago, when our National events were held in places like Council Bluffs, Iowa (famous for riverboat casinos so sad they make Atlantic City look like a model of regeneration) and Skatetown USA. And not just of the metaphorical kind; all too often people in this sport raise their voices or contact USAW only to complain, as evidenced by the drones members of various weightlifting “nations” with attitude. He’s now become a 77-kilo lifting machine with technique that’s been refined to match his prodigious strength. And remember when Chad Vaughn could show up to a Nationals and be guaranteed first place so long as he made two lifts? I knew he had a strong snatch, but his performance in the clean and jerk often fell short at the national level. Then Burns to 167, and a new record! …but wait, here comes Vardanian again with 168, and it’s good! Of course, history—such that we can understand any of it—is far messier than any one moment, and those of us doomed fortunate enough to study it know that the forces that steer the course of a people, a movement, or an Olympic sport are likely too complex to ever fully explain.
Those of us who know and love it, who’ve dedicated years to it, know that long-lasting growth is the only way to improve it. Virginia is the Online Editor for the 2011-12 school year and was a Managing Editor for the 2010-11 year but has not forgotten her humble beginnings as a staff writer when she was a wee sophomore.
Not since Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes marched across Eurasia have we seen destruction on this scale (though with fewer horses). By comparison, this year’s Nationals—held in the fabulous Grand America Hotel, with bathrooms so polished I was tempted to book a stall instead of a room—were a four chandelier event. Those days are long gone, which is more a testament to the growth of the sport than any dig at Chad (who appears happy to see these changes and new challenges). Yet here he pulled out a tremendous 192 after snatching 167 (briefly holding the snatch record that Norik had just broken, which Norik subsequently rebroke, finishing with 168; the old record of 165, set by Tom Gough, had stood since 2000).

But it looks very much like the Great Magnet is aligning things in ways that are favorable to weightlifting in general and USAW in particular. The Nationals this weekend, a rousing success in the view of many, are one step in the right direction. While most services are anticipated to return to regular programming without any problems after the test, Time Warner Cable has said that the test could affect things like DVR program settings. Her goals for the future are to get an A in newspaper and to apply to college in a timely fashion.
Day one of the competition, which should have started with the women’s 58D snatch session, instead opened with a small but significant nuclear explosion, apparently because USAW staff mistook a rod of refined plutonium for a barbell. The ballroom where the platforms were installed was outstanding: large, refined, with a raised stage, large warm up areas, and lighting just dim enough to make you feel like you should be making out with whoever was sitting next to you.
The emails of USAW staff are publicly available, and I’m sure they’ll provide Salt Lake City contacts as well (or will pass on sentiments).
Graber’s important, too, and at one time he was an athlete (and National Champion!), but the current crop of lifters, consisting of faces both old and new, is enough to make even the most cynical of fans gruffly appreciative of what is happening in this sport. Bearded wonder and 2014 National Champion James Tatum, meanwhile, keeps improving as well, pushing himself and others within this class.
Internet and social media resources like hookgrip and All Things Gym are spreading the lifting gospel far and wide, and the popularity of CrossFit means more people are practicing the Olympic lifts than ever before in this country (even if many of them are doing it with, uh, less-than-good form). By day two, when radiation sickness set in, everybody in attendance had grown at least one extra arm, making the successful completion of the two-handed snatch and clean & jerk difficult, to say the least.
For those of you who want to see meets of similar (or better!) quality in the future, one of the best things you can do is let the people in power know what you liked and thank them.
Throw in talented—I mean, extremely talented—youth and junior athletes, along with a hint of cinnamon, and you have the makings of a very satisfying mix with which to completely transform this sport at home and abroad. From there, it only worsened! Fires are still burning in Salt Late City, [static] all because USAW thought it could handle a National competition [static] in the very sport it governs. Indeed, it’s not even possible for me to acknowledge all the highlights without letting an already lengthy essay devolve into a multi-volume treatise that would make a Board meeting monologue by the (in)famously loquacious Artie Dreschler look like a bake sale leaflet by comparison.
This [static] is a Mayday call, begging you to [static] stay away, or at least to bring food, water, and three-sleeved hookgrip t-shirts if you do come.

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