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Why America Sucks in Olympic Weightlifting?

[quote]LiveFromThe781 wrote:
i also think its funny how China will abduct kids into 24/7 training facilities and still not even be that impressive. [/quote]

What??? The won gold in all but one of the weight classes they entered in Beijing, and the only one they didn’t win they lost on bodyweight. Does setting a new world record on your second attempt and then breaking it on your third not impress you either?

[quote]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.[/quote]

This is about the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard of, and quite honestly, I’m embarrassed that this is actually being said from the USAW office.

I knew that with a poor US showing, the very first thing coming from USAW was going to be that their athletes are clean stance. Here’s a dirty little secret…US lifters are dirty, maybe not to the same level as some other countries, but guilty the same.

The reason the US sucks at Oly Lifting is because there’s no system of development, and every year, it’s getting worse and worse in terms of turnout. It’s pretty much a reflection of how bad the people running USAW are.

While I would agree that many of our top athletes are playing other “money” sports, that’s simply an excuse. There’s plenty of Powerlifters all over the US, and that’s anything but a dying sport. For as long as there’s Powerlifters competing and on top of the world rankings, there’s enough of a lifter pool to draw from regardless if they’re our best athletes.

How soon we forget that up until the mid 1960’s, the US dominated Weightlifting, so there’s no reason why it can’t be restored to that level.

The first way it went wrong is that the US didn’t adapt to the first major rule change which allowed the bar to touch the body. This rule change pretty much changed Weightlifting completely because it made the lifts more about speed and less about brute strength. This was something the Russians figured out fast, especially when the Press was eliminated from the events, and not only did they biomechanically figure things out, they also realized that they needed to find specific lifters to compete in these events.

The Spartakiade was also a blow to the US during this time period. Not only were they making many scientific advancements, but the gov’t also used sports as a way of bringing the country together, and they used Weightlifting to show other countries that they were “strong” people but also a country. This concept started flowing out to the rest of Europe as well.

From this point on, the US has never been able to even get back into the mix with all these other countries. Where it’s really gone wrong is that there’s no programs designed to get kids into lifting. If you have this, you can then start identifying potential qualified lifters at much younger ages so that they can have a chance to compete at a very high level. Instead, USAW just figures lifters will do it on their own, and when they qualify to train at the OTC, then they will have their chance to achieve greatness. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

Unfortunately, I don’t foresee the US getting any better at Weightlifting…I guess that’s why they’re so vigilant about saying that their athletes are tested tougher than other countries.

[quote]Dominator 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.

This is about the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard of, and quite honestly, I’m embarrassed that this is actually being said from the USAW office.

I knew that with a poor US showing, the very first thing coming from USAW was going to be that their athletes are clean stance. Here’s a dirty little secret…US lifters are dirty, maybe not to the same level as some other countries, but guilty the same.

[/quote]

I don’t think Greg Everett actually represents USAW. But is it really that lame of any excuse? I mean, at such a high level of competition, a few kilograms can make a huge difference. So doesn’t it stand to reason that a few extra chemical aids could make a difference, as well? I don’t want to come across as a defender of USA weightlifting, but it does seem a little odd that the US is doing poorly in international weightlifting. Even though weightlifting isn’t very popular here, our population is 300 million, and we have decent sports funding. And we used to do much better. Then again, I don’t really know anything about this personally.

[quote]Dominator wrote:
The first way it went wrong is that the US didn’t adapt to the first major rule change which allowed the bar to touch the body. This rule change pretty much changed Weightlifting completely because it made the lifts more about speed and less about brute strength. This was something the Russians figured out fast, especially when the Press was eliminated from the events, and not only did they biomechanically figure things out, they also realized that they needed to find specific lifters to compete in these events.
[/quote]

I think you might be onto something there. While everyone else was nicking ideas off Grikurovi the US was, and still appears to be, hung up on things like a bar path that’s straight up and using the traps and plantar flexion to increase bar height. One of the things that Grikuvori’s style focused on was the lifter moving the body to where the bar is, rather than moving the bar to where the lifter is. You can see this in Khaki, Kolecki, Kasabiev, Azanidze, plus lifters like Perepetchenov, Dimas and even Sagir (even if his style is miles away from the aforementioned). They all use the weight on the bar to their advantage.

I think the principle reason is that lifters in the US start too late. It’s no good starting at 17/18 when lifters of the same age from other countries are already winning medals at the Jr Worlds and setting Jr WRs at the same time.

[quote]ninearms wrote:
LiveFromThe781 wrote:
i also think its funny how China will abduct kids into 24/7 training facilities and still not even be that impressive.

What??? The won gold in all but one of the weight classes they entered in Beijing, and the only one they didn’t win they lost on bodyweight. Does setting a new world record on your second attempt and then breaking it on your third not impress you either?[/quote]

What they needed to do to impress me would be to send guest lifters for the weight classes they couldn’t enter and have those guest lifters break all the WRs. That and every lifter would go 6 for 6 and every attempt would be a WR. Anything less is shameful.

I can say this as an internet coach, because, if they would just give me the chance, I could really turn their program around and produce some real competitors.

[quote]johnnytang24 wrote:
ninearms wrote:
LiveFromThe781 wrote:
i also think its funny how China will abduct kids into 24/7 training facilities and still not even be that impressive.

What??? The won gold in all but one of the weight classes they entered in Beijing, and the only one they didn’t win they lost on bodyweight. Does setting a new world record on your second attempt and then breaking it on your third not impress you either?

What they needed to do to impress me would be to send guest lifters for the weight classes they couldn’t enter and have those guest lifters break all the WRs. That and every lifter would go 6 for 6 and every attempt would be a WR. Anything less is shameful.

I can say this as an internet coach, because, if they would just give me the chance, I could really turn their program around and produce some real competitors.[/quote]

The funny thing is that they could have actually done this! There’s a doc on Youtube from early 2008 that shows all these lifters you’ve never even heard of, all with insane lifts. 170kg snatches at 77kg from guys who don’t even make the first team.

I hope you get the job in China, man.

[quote]Dominator 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.

This is about the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard of, and quite honestly, I’m embarrassed that this is actually being said from the USAW office.

I knew that with a poor US showing, the very first thing coming from USAW was going to be that their athletes are clean stance. Here’s a dirty little secret…US lifters are dirty, maybe not to the same level as some other countries, but guilty the same.

[/quote]

Really? Like who? Have you gone through the testing procedures run in this country? Do you know any of our top athletes? Have you personally seen them taking drugs? Have you talked to them about them?

This country is actually very clean when it comes to weightlifting. I’ve seen people get popped for THC or cough medicine - that’s how hard we test! Quite honestly, you should be embarrassed to suggest otherwise unless you have first hand information about it.

It turns out that the US has been saying this for years… not just since this Olympics. The countries that tend to win tend to also have violations for anabolics. The countries that do not do much tend not to.

Its pretty clear how, in weightlifting, drugs would be insanely useful. Forget about building muscle - the recovery portion is what everyone wants. If you could train multiple times a day at high intensity and still recover the same as only a few times a week at high intensity, you will strictly be a better lifter at elite levels.

I’m dumbfounded that you could make such terrible assumptions in your arguments. First of all, any doping in any professional sport in no way has any bearing on the argument, as testing procedures are not only completely different, they are run by a totally different group.

Secondly, doping in one olympic sport within a country that could benefit from it does not imply that doping will happen. Tae Kwon Do athletes could benefit from doping. So could beach volleyball. Are you telling me people are necessarily doping there, too?

Track is a sport this country cares about. Hence, there is money around it. Doctors won’t just help athletes cheat for free, after all. Would you like to talk about which doctors are around top athletes in weightlifting? I know some of the doctors weightlifters have to see in this country, at least on the east coast. Let me tell you, they aren’t ‘top doctors’ in the field of doping. They are just connected to a coach via friendship or something.

You have literally 0 evidence that drug use is occurring much, if at all in weightlifting. I have evidence that it doesn’t: I’ve gone through random testing at a meet. I’ve seen athletes (that I know personally) get caught and suspended for a half a year for cough medicine. Is it possible people are still using? Sure. But its incredibly unlikely since there are very few resources for it in this sport in this country.

If you are getting your facts from your BS program, you need to double check a few things. Its ridiculous of you to say that ‘fun fact’, eastern european people have different muscle than northern or southern. That, right there, betrays a huge misunderstanding of anatomy. What else are you misunderstanding?

[quote]ninearms wrote:
Dominator wrote:
The first way it went wrong is that the US didn’t adapt to the first major rule change which allowed the bar to touch the body. This rule change pretty much changed Weightlifting completely because it made the lifts more about speed and less about brute strength. This was something the Russians figured out fast, especially when the Press was eliminated from the events, and not only did they biomechanically figure things out, they also realized that they needed to find specific lifters to compete in these events.

I think you might be onto something there. While everyone else was nicking ideas off Grikurovi the US was, and still appears to be, hung up on things like a bar path that’s straight up and using the traps and plantar flexion to increase bar height. One of the things that Grikuvori’s style focused on was the lifter moving the body to where the bar is, rather than moving the bar to where the lifter is. You can see this in Khaki, Kolecki, Kasabiev, Azanidze, plus lifters like Perepetchenov, Dimas and even Sagir (even if his style is miles away from the aforementioned). They all use the weight on the bar to their advantage.

I think the principle reason is that lifters in the US start too late. It’s no good starting at 17/18 when lifters of the same age from other countries are already winning medals at the Jr Worlds and setting Jr WRs at the same time.[/quote]

NA, do you have links or other sources to the above information? I’d love to check it out.

[quote]Dr. Manhattan wrote:

Really? Like who? Have you gone through the testing procedures run in China? Do you know any of China’s top athletes? Have you personally seen them taking drugs? Have you talked to them about them?

China is actually very clean when it comes to weightlifting. Quite honestly, you should be embarrassed to suggest otherwise unless you have first hand information about it.

It turns out that the China has been saying this for years… not just since this Olympics.
[/quote]

China is clean because no one here has first hand knowledge of their drug usage, and they have never been busted in International competition. They even test out of competition!
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200506/25/eng20050625_192275.html

If you believe that, I have a this great training program to sell…

[quote]Sneaky weasel wrote:
ninearms wrote:
Dominator wrote:
The first way it went wrong is that the US didn’t adapt to the first major rule change which allowed the bar to touch the body. This rule change pretty much changed Weightlifting completely because it made the lifts more about speed and less about brute strength. This was something the Russians figured out fast, especially when the Press was eliminated from the events, and not only did they biomechanically figure things out, they also realized that they needed to find specific lifters to compete in these events.

I think you might be onto something there. While everyone else was nicking ideas off Grikurovi the US was, and still appears to be, hung up on things like a bar path that’s straight up and using the traps and plantar flexion to increase bar height. One of the things that Grikuvori’s style focused on was the lifter moving the body to where the bar is, rather than moving the bar to where the lifter is. You can see this in Khaki, Kolecki, Kasabiev, Azanidze, plus lifters like Perepetchenov, Dimas and even Sagir (even if his style is miles away from the aforementioned). They all use the weight on the bar to their advantage.

I think the principle reason is that lifters in the US start too late. It’s no good starting at 17/18 when lifters of the same age from other countries are already winning medals at the Jr Worlds and setting Jr WRs at the same time.

NA, do you have links or other sources to the above information? I’d love to check it out.[/quote]

It mostly just bits and bobs I’ve picked up over the years alongside watching his lifters, but there’s a long interview with him in Milo, vol 14, no 2.

It’s just very interesting to me, especially because I’ve seen and heard very different things from different coaches regarding optimal technique. My first coach had a very different technique for performing pulls that basically amounted to full-on jumping with the weight. I abandoned this in favor of the more traditional “shrugging” style of pull that everyone else seems to use, but this style does emphasize the traps (although plantar flexion occurs mostly as an afterthought).

I know the Bulgarians emphasize a bar path that pulls back rather than straight up; are you referring to this, or to the movement of the bar off the floor?

I think not only is the problem that kids start too late, but they really don’t have an incentive to take it seriously, even if they are actively competing. We have a kid at my club who’s a 16-year-old 69kg (ridiculously tall and thin–probably should end up 94 or 105) who does 100/120 or so, and yet still wants to take time off to wrestle this winter. There’s such a dearth of models to point to and say “THIS is where you could be if you stayed consistent and work hard.” Hell, Lance Frye trains at our club, and he just won the American Open with a lower total than he did like 2 years ago in Qatar. There’s no reason for kids to work hard at weightlifting unless they’re intrinsically motivated to begin with, which is a rare occurrence in a 14-year-old.

[quote]HBergeron wrote:
I don’t think Greg Everett actually represents USAW. But is it really that lame of any excuse? I mean, at such a high level of competition, a few kilograms can make a huge difference. So doesn’t it stand to reason that a few extra chemical aids could make a difference, as well? I don’t want to come across as a defender of USA weightlifting, but it does seem a little odd that the US is doing poorly in international weightlifting. Even though weightlifting isn’t very popular here, our population is 300 million, and we have decent sports funding. And we used to do much better. Then again, I don’t really know anything about this personally.[/quote]

Well, it would be one thing if the US was a few Kg off, but they’re not even close, to the point that drugs can’t even be the reason here.

[quote]SlothGuy wrote:

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.
[/quote]

This has been covered in another thread but I am going to argue anyways. You say that all or even most blacks have a greater amount of type II fibers? I call bullshit. There are plenty of white people as well as those of other races who are fast-twitch dominant and have a biomechanical advantage for explosiveness in sports.

There is genetic variability in all races. What you are saying is like saying white people are smarter than blacks just look who dominates the college populous and IQ tests. Yeah I am going to deny that skin color is a genetic factor that determines who will excel at what sports. I bet if you could possibly obtain an accurate sample from the population of all races randomly, skin color will not be correlated at all to muscle fiber type.

I’m going to go on a whim here and say that possibly a little of all factors discussed in this thread contribute to a losing American weightlifting team. There have been some good points made.

[quote]johnnytang24 wrote:
Dr. Manhattan wrote:

Really? Like who? Have you gone through the testing procedures run in China? Do you know any of China’s top athletes? Have you personally seen them taking drugs? Have you talked to them about them?

China is actually very clean when it comes to weightlifting. Quite honestly, you should be embarrassed to suggest otherwise unless you have first hand information about it.

It turns out that the China has been saying this for years… not just since this Olympics.

China is clean because no one here has first hand knowledge of their drug usage, and they have never been busted in International competition. They even test out of competition!
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200506/25/eng20050625_192275.html

If you believe that, I have a this great training program to sell…[/quote]

The problems with your reductio ad absurdum are that you ignored some of my argument in applying it to China’s situation, and you ignored the obvious weakening piece of evidence that, while the US has not been doing well at lifting, China has been doing exceedingly well.

Moreover, Dominator made the claim that the US is dirty. I’d like to know what he is basing that off of given that we don’t do well, we DO test fairly seriously, and we have claimed to test for a while, not just since we didn’t do well at this Olympics (like he suggested.)Since I am not a Chinese lifter, nor do I know any Chinese lifters, I don’t have as much of an interest in defending them.

Well- Cheeta got everyone fired up.

I guess the biggest problem with weightlifting in this country is that it just totally under the radar. School athletic programs don’t have it. It is really upt there with netball, cricket, and oil wrestling in the American conciousness.

Also- and I think many may disagree with about this- weightlifting as it is now is just plain un-American. We prize upperbody strength and hypertrophy over lower body strength and hypertrophy. Show me a man who lifts weights in this country. He may not squat or pull or row and he probably has never done a full C&J or a snatch. But every Monday, he is laying on a bench- pressing some weight. When was the last time a non-lifter asked you what your C&J was? Bench-pressing is as American as a gunrack in your F-250 Marlboro cigarettes, and a concealed carry permit.

Oh c’mon, trying to carry political correctness over to everything results in nonsense.

Name me ONE Kenyan or other East African sprinter who is competitive at high levels of the sport?

Now try that for the marathon.

Try the reverse for blacks of West African descent.

And for extra points, tell me what happens in the mile.

Yeah, I know it pains some to believe that there are differences in how people’s bodies are built other than amount of melanin, but getting in a huff and reflexively denying, for example, that Eastern Europeans might very strongly tend in a direction that other other Europeans do not just out of this idealistic thinking, and that’s all it is, is not productive.

ACTUALLY Elano, they have done studies, with large RANDOM sample populations in the United States. Using different races and black people, on average, had a substantially higher percentage of Type II fibers. I would love to find the reference for the study but it was from my Exercise Physiology class.

Why are you arguing this when you have no foundation to your argument? You aren’t giving me any facts, you’re just saying “well I don’t think that’s right…” Well guess what, as much as you’d like to not believe it, there is somewhat of a genetic predisposition in the United States to what sport you’ll be good at.

ON AVERAGE, black people have the genetics to be the strongest/fastest athletes. Not saying there aren’t white guys with insanely high percentages of Type II fibers and explosive speed, but come on, take a look at all Olympic sprinters and all NFL running backs/corners.