T Nation

Why America Sucks in Olympic Weightlifting?

I know there are some strong as hell powerlifters, but why the dominance in the Olympic weightlifting is in europe/asia? even tought if any lifter can handle more than 200kg in america is good.

I want you guys opinion thanks.

Perhaps the natural athletes in America are more likely to go to football.

Umm what you talkin about, anybody who can handle more than 200kg IN THE WORLD is good. How many people do you see c&j 440lb?

This topic has already been covered in friday’s Atomic Dog. It’s because they were born in november. Dammit if only they had been born in march!

In seriousness though, I bet weightlifting is more popular there than it is here.

I bet if the people here who would actually be good at weightlifting actually practiced it, we would be just as competitive.

[quote]cheeta wrote:
Plus fun fact Eastern europeans have differnt muscular tissue (hope i am translating this right) than southern or northen europeans thus making them grow stronger muscles. And most of you americans ancestors came from england, ireland, germany, netherlands and such.

…so maybe a bit far fetched…but thats what I think…[/quote]

Got any citation for this?

  1. There are many other sports competing for strong/powerful athletes in the US (esp. football, basketball, baseball). The other popular sports in Europe–soccer and cycling–do not seem to draw from the same talent pool.

  2. The successful countries at oly lifting generally screen/select for the best lifters among their youth.

  3. Related to #1, olympic lifting is more culturally ingrained in countries like Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Germany, etc. Kids in those countries grow up watching successful lifters on the European/Asian/world stage and want to emulate them. Thus, the success of those countries feeds itself.

It may take a Lance Armstrong type of American olympic lifter to generate more widespread interest in oly lifting in America.

I think its more of a history thing, The anglo-saxons and greeks were doing weightlifting while Native Americans were fishing, growing corn, being native american, etc. Its more so in their blood and in their heritage than ours.

and maybe its all the radiated land from Chernobyl…

[quote]cheeta wrote:
eic wrote:

  1. There are many other sports competing for strong/powerful athletes in the US (esp. football, basketball, baseball). The other popular sports in Europe–soccer and cycling–do not seem to draw from the same talent pool.

LOL I love how you mention cycling as a popular sport in europe…I dont think its any more popular here than over there in your country haha.
[/quote]

You serious? Perhaps you’ve heard of the Giro de Italia, Vuelta a Espana, and Tour de France? Europeans make up 99.5% of all the professional cyclists in the world. Granted it is not as popular as soccer in Europe, but it is way bigger there than here (US).

I’ve heard that a big problem is that American weightlifters pretty much have to be clean all year, because of random drug testing. In many other countries, they just have to be clean in time for major competitions. Not sure if this explains it all, but I think some big US weightlifting coaches have made that claim.

Another contributor is the fact that, In America, no one does Olympic weightlifting. How many people do you see at a golds gym or a 24 hour fitness doing c&j’s and snatches? Zero. Moreover, how many of those places have olympic platforms?

If you wanna train for Olympic weightlifting the only places that will have platforms besides a high-school or local university with divisional athletics is probably some dudes garage converted to a gym on the weekends, and occasionally you find an Olympic weightlifting club that is basically a gym that pretty much has just squat racks and platforms.

[quote]cheeta wrote:
LiftSmart wrote:
cheeta wrote:
Plus fun fact Eastern europeans have differnt muscular tissue (hope i am translating this right) than southern or northen europeans thus making them grow stronger muscles. And most of you americans ancestors came from england, ireland, germany, netherlands and such.

…so maybe a bit far fetched…but thats what I think…

Got any citation for this?

If I knew what the word citation ment then I would be able to answer this question, But i assume you mean proof?

Well muscle tissue vise:
I would have to look it up in my books, but I am currently taking my BS in sport science where we learned a whole deal about it how their muscle tissue goes in a nother direction than for other white ppl. Its not that they have more of it its just that it is different.

(sorry hard to explain when english is your 3rd language)
Most americans from england, iceland, germanu, netherlands and such? well many come from mexico now and some from africa, asia etc and all that…but i dont think thats what you ment…

[/quote]

Sorry, yeah I meant the source. I’ve never heard about that before.

[quote]eic wrote:
2) The successful countries at oly lifting generally screen/select for the best lifters among their youth. [/quote]

I think this is a one of the biggest differences and the extent to which they recruit and train the athletes away from their families is something you would never see in the US. This process, screened from such a huge population pool is going to easily produce some amazing athletes.

Looking at their national weightlifting event result numbers are jaw dropping to say the least.

[quote]cheeta wrote:
HBergeron wrote:
I’ve heard that a big problem is that American weightlifters pretty much have to be clean all year, because of random drug testing. In many other countries, they just have to be clean in time for major competitions.

Not sure if this explains it all, but I think some big US weightlifting coaches have made that claim.

yeah your weightlifters are clean alright (rofl)
[/quote]

Do you really believe that it is because us Americans have such inferior genetics? Come on, I hear that crap about sports all the time. A bunch of bologna. Black people are better at basketball than white people because of their superior genetics blah blah.

This is a sociological issue, not a physiological one. Why would a kid want to be an competitive weightlifter on a loosing team when he could make millions of dollars a year making tackles or dunking basketballs for his favorite team?

[quote]elano wrote:
cheeta wrote:
HBergeron wrote:
I’ve heard that a big problem is that American weightlifters pretty much have to be clean all year, because of random drug testing. In many other countries, they just have to be clean in time for major competitions. Not sure if this explains it all, but I think some big US weightlifting coaches have made that claim.

yeah your weightlifters are clean alright (rofl)

Do you really believe that it is because us Americans have such inferior genetics? Come on, I hear that crap about sports all the time. A bunch of bologna. Black people are better at basketball than white people because of their superior genetics blah blah.

This is a sociological issue, not a physiological one. Why would a kid want to be an competitive weightlifter on a loosing team when he could make millions of dollars a year making tackles or dunking basketballs for his favorite team?[/quote]

ACTUALLY, there has been ALOT of research that has shown that african americans do indeed have a different genetic muscular makeup. Black people, on average, have a far greater amount of type IIa/b fibers to Type I fibers.

This results in not only greater hypertrophy of muscle (as Type II fibers have greater potential for growth), but a dominance in sports requiring explosiveness (hence, football, basketball, track and field). Also, the shoulder/hip ratios and leg shank lengths are different for blacks compared to other races, making them superior sprinters in general.

Sure there may be some sociological factors that tie into black people excelling at basketball and football, but you can’t deny that there are genetic factors too.

Oh, and just so I’m not entirely off topic, my guess is that Americans are so bad at Olympic weightlifting for a few reasons. Number 1, it just is not that popular of a sport compared to the easter block of Europe. As was pointed out before, there are few gyms in the states/Canada that have platforms/bumper weights and coaches to teach the technique.

Number 2, many of the countries overseas have programs that scout out strength athletes at young ages. These kids are picked for their build and learn the techniques from a young age (I’m talking 6-8 years old!) China is the greatest example of this, with all their Olympic sports.

Annnnd Number 3, as was stated before I think… All the strongest/fastest kids in the US are scouted early for football and possibly basketball. If a kid can run a 4.5 40 and bench/clean 300 as a young kid in high school why in the world would he choose olympic lifting when the opportunity to make a far greater amount of money in football is there?

i agree with the football comment.

but id also combine it with the fact that weightlifting is a bigger sport in other countries. is it bigger in those countries because theyre better at or are they better at it because its more popular? its really like the chicken vs egg theory.

in American you can make 10, 20, 50 million dollars playing football. so compare making millions of dollars and tons of popularity to what 20 grand per gold medal and some slight internet notority on a forum like this? anyone is gonna take the fame and money.

our kids are primed to play football like your kids are primed do snatches. only we dont do it with communism we do it with sports dads who pressure their kids into being what they couldnt.

[quote]cheeta wrote:
HBergeron wrote:
I’ve heard that a big problem is that American weightlifters pretty much have to be clean all year, because of random drug testing. In many other countries, they just have to be clean in time for major competitions.

Not sure if this explains it all, but I think some big US weightlifting coaches have made that claim.

yeah your weightlifters are clean alright (rofl)
[/quote]

Well, here’s a quote from Greg Everett, a top weightlifting coach in the USA. Source: http://www.board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=33028&highlight=drug+testing+weightlifting&page=9

"As has been mentioned, it’s because the US has the most rigorous drug testing program for its athletes. Our lifters are tested monthly, no-announce. On the other hand, lifters from the leading countries are able to go essentially year-round on the gear.

Look at the numbers from this Olympics alone. 11 out of 14 of the Greek team popped. The entire Bulgarian team wihdrawn to prevent national embarrassment. Numerous individual competitors popped. There’s no big mystery behind the disparity.

Again, when you go back in history to when the playing field was level, American weightlifters were at the top of the game and setting world records."

i also think its funny how China will abduct kids into 24/7 training facilities and still not even be that impressive.

[quote]HBergeron wrote:
cheeta wrote:
HBergeron wrote:
I’ve heard that a big problem is that American weightlifters pretty much have to be clean all year, because of random drug testing. In many other countries, they just have to be clean in time for major competitions.

Not sure if this explains it all, but I think some big US weightlifting coaches have made that claim.

yeah your weightlifters are clean alright (rofl)

Well, here’s a quote from Greg Everett, a top weightlifting coach in the USA. Source: http://www.board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=33028&highlight=drug+testing+weightlifting&page=9

"As has been mentioned, it’s because the US has the most rigorous drug testing program for its athletes. Our lifters are tested monthly, no-announce. On the other hand, lifters from the leading countries are able to go essentially year-round on the gear.

Look at the numbers from this Olympics alone. 11 out of 14 of the Greek team popped. The entire Bulgarian team wihdrawn to prevent national embarrassment. Numerous individual competitors popped. There’s no big mystery behind the disparity. Again, when you go back in history to when the playing field was level, American weightlifters were at the top of the game and setting world records."[/quote]

USA!!!

[quote]cheeta wrote:
HBergeron wrote:
cheeta wrote:
HBergeron wrote:
I’ve heard that a big problem is that American weightlifters pretty much have to be clean all year, because of random drug testing. In many other countries, they just have to be clean in time for major competitions.

Not sure if this explains it all, but I think some big US weightlifting coaches have made that claim.

yeah your weightlifters are clean alright (rofl)

Well, here’s a quote from Greg Everett, a top weightlifting coach in the USA. Source: http://www.board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=33028&highlight=drug+testing+weightlifting&page=9

"As has been mentioned, it’s because the US has the most rigorous drug testing program for its athletes. Our lifters are tested monthly, no-announce. On the other hand, lifters from the leading countries are able to go essentially year-round on the gear.

Look at the numbers from this Olympics alone. 11 out of 14 of the Greek team popped. The entire Bulgarian team wihdrawn to prevent national embarrassment. Numerous individual competitors popped. There’s no big mystery behind the disparity.

Again, when you go back in history to when the playing field was level, American weightlifters were at the top of the game and setting world records."

Thats the point I guess, An athleet will have to chose in his career weather he is willing to take risk and make sacrifices such as taking performance enhancing drugs and compeat at a International lever or not and compeat at a club level…

[/quote]

I suppose you’re right, except that in the US, if an athlete wants to juice and gets caught by the US Olympic Committee, they won’t get to go to the Olympics at all. So what’s the point of juicing for the extra edge?