MuscleDriver USA: The Ending of an Era

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MuscleDriver USA: The Ending of an Era

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“The Ending of an Era” is a common theme that I have noticed on most people’s post regarding the recent closing of the giant equipment company, Muscle Driver USA. Of course most of you will remember them as the first professional Olympic weightlifting team at least in this modern day era. Bob Hoffman of York Barbell Club tried something similar in the years between 1945-1960. However, no company had taken on that risk until Brad Hess owner of MuscleDriver USA decided to give lifters and coaches a real chance.

I was one of those coaches, and I will never forget the experience. After a disagreement last year, I left the team. A lot of people would think that MDUSA’s closing would somehow make me happy. Nothing is further from the truth. I have been sad ever since I heard that it could be a possibility. I was given the opportunity to learn from two of the greatest coaches in the business: Don McCauley and Glenn Pendlay. I had the chance to coach some of the best weightlifters in the country. I have no regrets. I am just thankful for that time in my life.


Even though we didn’t agree on certain business issues, I have always admired Brad for taking on the risk of a professional team. That’s exactly what America needs for weightlifting to get back on track. I have said it from the beginning, and I stand by what I said. America was founded on capitalism with trade and industry controlled by private owners for profit. That’s who we are, so we need to embrace it.

Looking to a governing body to save the sport is failure waiting to happen. Brad had a great idea. It’s easy to sit back and not take a risk and say that Brad’s execution of the team wasn’t perfect. Unless you are willing to put your money on the line, you really can’t have a say in his execution. You will never know all the obstacles that he had to overcome.

However, I believe that all of the other companies in the fitness industry need to look at what he did, try to improve upon it, and carry on with the idea. If we want to see Olympic medals we have to provide certain things to potential athletes. We need to provide:

• Education assistance
• Stipends for living expenses
• A Future ex. Retirement, salaries, bonuses for performance, coaching jobs, or other career opportunities
• Medical care
• Recovery care ex. Chiropractic, massage, physical therapy
• Top rate coaches that are Exercise Scientists as well as weightlifting coaches

These are a few of the things that I have been working on already, but it has to be other companies. The more corporate teams that we have in America means more competition. Competition yields results. Now is the time to strike in America. Weightlifting is more popular than ever.

This article is to say “Thank you” to Brad Hess and the rest of the pioneers that drove MuscleDriver USA. Your imagination and bravery has shed a light on the future of Olympic weightlifting in America. It is up to the other business owners to pick up where you left off.

A lot of people didn’t like MuscleDriver USA or the concept of a corporate team. I don’t understand their thinking. We all agree that we want to see weightlifting flourish in America, but some of us don’t want anyone to do anything about it. Well that is not the way that I think. I was taught that if I wanted something bad enough, I should go out and get it.

It is time that we stopped looking to other countries to fix our weightlifting problems. We are Americans. We have the greatest athletes in the world. We have the greatest exercise scientists in the world. It is time that we looked within to improve our sport.

Thank you MDUSA for motivating us to go out and improve the sport. Your legacy will live on forever in my book. I hope this short blog encourages all of you that were a part of the corporate giant that had the courage to do something. You will forever be motivation for guys like me to continue the fight.

I hope that this blog sparks a conversation about all of your ideas to improve weightlifting in America. Let’s put it all out there right now. Comment below or in the Facebook Thread, and let’s talk this out. Together we can change some things.

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