Ok, here goes the AO recap…
I cannot imagine running a meet of this size and magnitude. Someone told me (I don’t know how accurate this is), that this year’s AO had more lifters competing than the Chinese National WL Championships—if that’s even close to true it should give you a pretty good bearing on the size of the meet. Bobby Sirkis, and the rest of the staff that put on the event, did a spectacular job of providing everything the lifters and coaches needed, and SOMEHOW kept the event completely on schedule. When I first heard how many lifters would be attending, I had visions of sessions running into the middle of the night—that never happened. In fact, we were rushed a few times to get warmups in for lifters who were closer to the start of the sessions.
I’m going to try to not go too hard here, but I don’t think USAW will get their feelings hurt too badly, because from what I’ve heard they’ve already heard a ton of complaints. Apparently (I’ve heard this from multiple sources), a judge fell asleep. Asleep. To say that the judging was inconsistent, would be like saying the Redskins have been a “disappointment” (it would be a MASSIVE understatement—the Redskins SUCK). I personally watched the 58k A Session from the front of the room, and saw at least five lifts go the other direction from what I, or the very vocal crowd, would have called. I get the whole “purity of the sport thing”, and that we’re just a bunch of dumb exercisers who will white light any lift, but quite a few of those 500 sets of eyes actually know the rules of Weightlifting and saw something completely different than the blue jackets. Also, if a judge, at a NATIONAL MEET, has to look at the other judges before they make a decision, it’s probably time to hang up your flags.
When Travis Cooper walked to the bar for the final lift of the 85k A Session, the crowd began to chant “USA, USA, USA!”. They did this because Travis was trailing Muhammad Begaliev (currently a student in the US, from Uzbekistan) by 9k going into his final Clean & Jerk. Travis jumped from 188k to 198k for that final attempt, and it would have been a 7k meet PR for him. Long story short, the crowd was INTO it. I’ve been to a few National meets now, and more than enough local meets, I have NEVER heard a crowd like the one in Dallas. It was standing-room-only from midday Saturday, until the close of the meet. The competitive exercisers may have bad technique, and may be ruining the purity of the sport, but I’ll be dammed if we don’t know how to cheer for a big lift. Next year’s AO needs to be somewhere big.
Editorial note: I would like to preface this by saying I have many friends in Dallas (and I actually like Texas), and this is in no way directed at them, this is strictly directed at whoever runs the place.
DALLAS SUCKS. No, this is not residual football rivalry anger, this is truly based off my experience from the AO. They got some ice on Thursday, maybe a half inch, that was covered with some light snow, AND THE WHOLE EFFING PLACE SHUT DOWN. There were at least fifteen lifters (including our own Jake Dickerson, and Emily Carothers), who couldn’t even get to town! The kitchen of the Westin was completely shut down because the cooking staff DIDN’T SHOW UP. No one had anything to eat, and in the middle of multiple weight cuts, that’s just not cool. This rant gives me another opportunity to praise the event directors and staff, as they SOMEHOW still pulled off the meet. I swear I thought the lights would go off at some point, and we’d be lifting by candlelight. For future reference, City of Dallas: buy a couple snow plows, or some salt trucks. That’s not just my east coast snobbery talking, it’s the law of averages. Some times you guys have bad weather too.
Yes, this actually happened, I swear on my beard this is what I used to scrape my windshield…
Yes, I’m going to save the good stuff for tomorrow, you all probably fell asleep by now anyway (see what I did there?).
To be continued (probably)…