Powerlifting’s a sport that’s been grasping for legitimate, respectable, accurate adjectives since it lost its time slots on ABC and CBS back in the 1980s. In that pursuit, there’s been an avalanche of misleading proclamations and hollow claims of greatness. I get the allure of championship day dreams and I understand the siren’s song that calls us towards the rocks, while making us think we’re sailing towards a climb and not a crash. But, as the overstatements and fluffed up reports flow in, we’ve become numb to the headlines that contain “New Record” and “World Championship” and “Pro Lifter.” Ours is a sport that’s constructed hundreds of international titles and thousands of record slots, but less than a dozen full time professional competitors. We’ve spent so much time, putting on shiny tin roofs that we’ve never stopped to lay the concrete for the foundation.
To this day, the only people making any real money in powerlifting are the businesses that sell products to the athletes and the promoters who collect the federation card membership dues and the competitor sign up payments. This form of athletic competition is currently experiencing a business model where the athlete on stage IS the customer and the source of revenue. So, before the gym community gets too caught up in talks about our best “Turning pro” and making money in the game, we should first work to accomplish the much easier, much more logical goal of making it FREE for the marquee lifters to participate.
What’s the draw of powerlifting? It’s the same draw as what exists in every gym and that’s a large, muscular, athlete moving weight that most will only dream of attempting to move. It’s these elite weight lifters that bring in the crowd and who earn the video views. If a show’s completely lacking in top talent, then that show’s not on the radar. And if a show’s not being followed, then there’s no benefit in a company paying for advertising. So, if the top heavyweights are keeping the gears turning on the financial side of the promotional biz, then why are the promoters also requiring them to directly add cash to that promoter’s bank account? It’s understandable that most of the shows can’t award cash to their winners, like Hardcore Powerlifting can. But, now that powerlifting’s been around for over fifty years, it’s inexcusable that a “For profit” business still feels justified in making a profit off the very same talent that’s allowing these showmen to remain in their chosen line of marketing work.
So, from this day forward, ANYONE and EVERYONE, who can raw bench five hundred pounds or more OR who can raw deadlift seven hundred pounds or more can lift 100% FREE-OF-CHARGE at EVERY Hardcore Powerlifting competition. NO federation membership card fees, NO entry form sign up payments and NO paying for souvenir t-shirts or certificates or what have you. And, as the owner of HardcorePowerlifting.com , I directly challenge every other federation to match our offer. Let’s finally get the sport up another step on the stairwell to professionalism. And to all of the advanced level heavyweights, who can push a quarter ton or who can pull with more than seven plates on the bar, it’s time that you cease allowing yourselves to be used. Athletes get what they’ve both earned AND required. At the very least, you should be allowed to lift on any stage that you select and without having to reach for your wallet when you see the show organizer.
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