The Oly Encyclopedia 14

A Time Of Unprecedented Opportunity In Weightlifting

Today there are many athletes in all of the countries of the world who, with the proper dedication and intelligent training, have the potential to become the champions of the future. Perhaps the only real obstacle that Americans and athletes from other nations who have not been leaders in weightlifting in recent years) now face is the possibility of inheriting a massive inferiority complex from many of their immediate predecessors. Athletes who believe they cannot win will not win. They will not train the way they must to be champions and they will not be inspired by the infinite energy that comes from the dream of being a champion. But to those few who dare to be great, to undertake the challenge of meeting the best in the world on their own terms and with all of their advantages, will go the highest accolades and the greatest personal sense of achievement.

It took great courage for the first American international lifters to venture to Europe in the 1930s and to return victorious (the myth of European invincibility was at least as strong then as was the myth of Eastern European invincibility until recently - when weightlifters from other parts of Europe and Asia mounted a serious challenge to the Eastern Europeans). Men like Tony Terlazzo and John Davis will forever be remembered in the history of American weightlifting as those who led the way - those who had the courage to challenge the World's best and to win.

Now the opportunity presents itself for a new generation of Americans and other athletes from all of the nations of the world to take up a similar challenge, to bring themselves and their nations to positions of glory in the world of weightlifting. It will not be easy and it will not come quickly, but for those few who have the courage to accept the challenge of that glorious effort, victory will be all the sweeter. They will be the weightlifting heroes of the new millennium.

This book is dedicated to the athletes of all nations who wish to accept the challenge of becoming the best in the world, the best who have ever lived!

There is another sense in which there is unprecedented opportunity in weightlifting todaythe prospect of making a living as a weightlifter. Until recently, weightlifting, along with many other Olympic sports, was considered an amateur sport. Athletes who earned money (directly or indirectly) from their sport could be banned from competition. Today those limitations are a thing of the past. And, while there are no formal professional weightlifting leagues in which athletes earn large sums of money for winning competitions (there is at least one ''semi-pro'' league), there are countries in which high calibre athletes can earn a comfortable living. It is rumored that in at least one country in Europe, athletes who won the Olympic Games received several hundred thousand dollars as a reward for their victoreis. The USAW presently has a system for rewarding its top athletes which makes is possible for those athletes to concentrate on their weightlifting (0 though certainy not to become wealthy).

But there are many other opportunities for weighlifters to earn money. Many have become personal trainers. Although it is true that there is a ''glut'' in the personal trainer market today, it is also true that most personal trainers are people who like exercise ant take aquick exam to become certified. When the expertise of such people is compared with that of a competetive weightlifter it generally pales by comparison. Consequently, the weightlifter who knows how to promote himself or herself can achieve great success in a field.

Similarly, a number of top weightlifters have become strength coaches for college and professional sports teams. This is another field in which people can take an exam and become certified But there is no comparison between the expertise of someone who has merely studied to pass an exam and someone who has devoted his or her life to developing strength and power.

Finally, unlimited opportunities are available to those who can conduct effective seminars, secure endorsements and break into advertising. The world's strongest man or woman who knows how to promote himself or herself has fantastic potential today as compared with their predecessors who could be, and were, banned immediately from competition for promoting themselves). This is truly an era of unprecedented opportunity in weightlifting!

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