HISTORY OF WEIGHTLIFTING (PART-3)
From: George Kirkley "Modern Weightlifting" 1961
Courtesy of Dr. Mel Siff
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The International Scene Today (1961)
With more than sixty nations directly affiliated to the International Federation, and with activity developing on an ever-increasing scale, world weightlifting today is in a healthy state. Main features of present-day activity are, of course, the Olympic Games, held every four years, and the annual world's championships, which I discussed in the first chapter.
In these events it is common for almost thirty nations to take part - a high percentage of entries when we consider that some of the smaller nations haven't yet developed to the extent where they can afford to send teams long distances at considerable expense, or haven't so far reached a standard of performance sufficiently high enough to warrant extra special efforts being made to send competitors. But considerable strides are being made all the time, and interest and enthusiasm among practically all nations is on the increase.
Organization of the sport is almost a standard pattern throughout the world - although there are differences in the methods of obtaining the all-important finances for administration. Some countries follow the British method of being self supporting, revenue being obtained from membership fees and from the profits of national and other championships, international events, etc.
Other countries, like Finland, Sweden and Italy, for example, get all or most of their finances by direct payment from the Government or subsidiary bodies, while some countries combine these methods.
One of the most powerful of the weightlifting countries, the U.S.A., has its national governing body as a part of the large and powerful A.A.U. (Amateur Athletic Union) but has depended almost entirely on the benevolent efforts of one particular wealthy enthusiast, Bob Hoffman, in order to send full teams abroad for the annual world's championships.
In Russia, and many of the surrounding countries, all sports are highly organized by the State, and their performers have many advantages over, for instance, our own weightlifters.
[This national level of sports management, recruitment and coaching, backed up by widespread scientific research and education of coaches, more than any specific "Russian training secrets", played a huge role in the tremendous international success of many sports in Russia. Yet, there are those who still think that the Russians and East Europeans flourished in sport simply because of various training secrets and drugs (which, as many of us know, have been used just as widely in the West). Sporting success, like success in Western business, as I pointed out at the NSCA conference earlier this year, is a function of effective and efficient management that optimises the contributions of many resources, not just one or two trendy techniques, like "functional training", "core stability", "plyometrics" or "periodisation." Mel Siff]
On the competitive side there is little difference from other Sports, championships and other events being held at local, area and national level, with the pattern almost the same in all countries.
Records on individual lifts, too, are recognized by all countries. But here some differences are noted. Some countries, like Britain, U.S.A. and Australia, for instance, recognize a large number of lifts, as distinct from the official seven international lifts (three Olympic lifts plus the Right and Left Hand Snatch and Clean and Jerk). Others follow the F.I.H.C. policy and concern themselves with these seven lifts only.
The number of competitive lifters often bears no comparison to the population of the country concerned. Top nation, of course, is Russia, with well over 100,000 participants in official competition of some kind. While America, with almost as large a population, has only a fraction of this number. Again, Finland, with a population of only 4 millions (half of London alone) can boast of no less than 10,000 registered weightlifters, as compared with perhaps 3,500 in Britain.