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How Does America Medal in the Olympics? Maybe There’s an Answer
For year’s people have asked the questions, “Why can’t American weightlifters earn medals in the Olympics?” I have asked the same question. I have written several articles about the matter. I started realizing that we were all just pointing fingers at each other. Everyone wants the same thing. We all have ideas. We just want someone else to do it.
I am thru with asking someone else to do it. The time is right now. As of Friday, my weightlifting team became a non-profit entity. There are a few reasons for this that I will explain later, but the main reason is that taking our weightlifters to the top in the world is more than one-man job. I want to develop my team that will collaborate together in this endeavor.
Here’s the way it will be structured:
1. Senior Level: This section is for athletes 21-years-old and up. However, some of the younger athletes can take advantage of these benefits if they hitting senior level totals. Here are the advantages that we are working to provide:
• Soft-tissue practitioners
• Travel to National Events
2. Junior Level- these are athletes 18-20 years old. This is the crop that is preparing to impact the sport very soon. Some of my Juniors are very close to Senior International Teams, so a lot of them are ready for all the benefits above. Here is the plan for the Juniors:
• University Program is number one
• Soft-tissue practitioners
• Travel to National Events
3. Youth Level- it all starts right here. We have to be able to recruit great athletes at a younger age. We need to find a strategy to penetrate the younger population. The first step is having a future for them. Most young athletes want to play football or basketball because they dream of playing in college or pros. Developing the Junior and Senior levels is first. Here are the plans:
• Team environment
• Travel to meets
• International level coaches
• Possible stipends
• Another top sport for athletes under 6’2”
3a. Troubled or At Risk Youth: All levels will take part in this project. We want to provide a safe and positive environment for the youth in the community of all our locations. This has been a passion of mine for over a decade, and now it is time to do something in this area as well. I want to work with kids that would never have the opportunity otherwise to work with International level coaches. I also want to work with any children that need a place to go that is safe and positive. Here are the things that we plan on doing:
• Introduce to the world of weightlifting
• Learn goal setting skills that will hold true in all areas of their life
• Positive environment around the top weightlifters in the country
• Counseling will be provided to all of them
• Life Skills Classes ex. Applying for college, balancing a check book, picking a career (basically all the things that I wish someone would have told me)
• Simply a Positive Environment
I have been working on many of these things for months now like the University Program. We are well on the way to setting something up with Winston-Salem State University right here where my gym is located. I want my guys to have a future after weightlifting. I want them to be prepared to take what I am building and make it better.
I want to change the face of weightlifting forever. Anyone that knows me realizes that I love my athletes. From the number one ranked all the way to last place, I love helping these men and women reach their goals. I want to build them something concrete. Right now they are giving their all to a sport with a straw house. I want to put brick around it.
Right now, I am saying “I” a lot, but the reality is that this is going to have to be a team thing. This is big. I want to change the face of weightlifting forever. This is more than a one-man show. That is why I turned my team into a 501c3 not for profit business. I want to offer any of you that might want to help an unbelievable cause, and I want my team to be able to give back.
Part of making the sport of weightlifting more visible is social media. We are going to do the following to bring attention to the team:
• Professional YouTube videos to bring the team and athletes to the world
• Live streaming of training to watch true weightlifting life
• Athletes journals online to see their individual programs, thoughts, and stories
• Athlete and coaches blogs and articles so everyone can learn from what we are doing
• Team Podcasts so all of you can get to know the athletes and coaches on more of a personal level
• Team Instagram, Facebook, Snap Chat, and Twitter, so you all can keep up with the daily grind. This will also make our team more valuable to potential partners/donors.
• Helping the athletes maximize personal social media like Instagram, Snap Chat, and Facebook, which will help them and our companies supporting the team.
How does all of this change things in weightlifting? Right now our biggest obstacle in medaling at the Olympic Games and World Championships is drugs. We all know it. I am just saying it. I am proud that we live in a country that has USADA (United States Anti Doping Agency). This isn’t going to change, and I don’t want it to change.
Our country is able to medal in sports like gymnastics, swimming, and track & field. Why is that? Steroids would help those sports as well. The answer is that these sports have better programs that offer their athletes more in return. Athletes with great genetics are going to lean towards sports that can earn them the most.
I hear the argument that our great athletes are never going to do weightlifting. They are going to go with the money in football and basketball. I totally agree that athletes that are at least 6’2”’s and above are going to migrate to these sports. What about the other athletes left out? Personally I know that there are thousands of incredible athletes at Universities all over America that are 5’10” and below. This is the group that we should target at an early age.
When the programs are in place that I mentioned earlier, then we have something to entice this shorter population. 5’9” might be a negative thing for the NFL, but it’s a beautiful thing for weightlifting. We just have to be competitive with the perks that we can offer like college scholarships.
Personally I believe that America is superior in the genetics department. We normally win or come in the top 3 in the overall medals department at every Olympics. That tells me we have the athletes. We just have to attract them. It is all about getting a bigger pool of awesome athletes. With great coaching, the cream will rise to the top, and medals will follow.
Why do we want to base to be here in North Carolina? That’s easy. We have developed something very special here. We have a team that never complains, get along, and is like a family. It’s special. That’s the reason my athletes are dominating. Yes I am a good coach, but the main reason they are killing it is the environment. It’s not just putting a bunch of great athletes in the same room. It’s also making that room fun and exciting on a daily basis. I am also talking to Don McCauley and Chris Wilkes to join the team, and possibly start another division in Charlotte. That’s three International Coaches in one place. Where else do you get that?
I will give credit where credit is due. Greg Everett inspired me to do all of this. I had him on a podcast, and we talked about all of these things. His film “American Weightlifter” also inspired me. Greg was the first person that I told about my plans because I value him as a person, and he’s pretty darn smart as well.
I hope that you are all pumped. I know that I am. If you are interested in partnering with this epic venture, please email me at Travis.Mash@mashelite.com.