Powerlifting has been a fringe sport for many years, despite the growing popularity and increased membership of the USAPL federation it is still a long way from reaching the pinnacle of the sporting world.
But, it is certainly on the way. Some universities now even offer scholarships for powerlifters to compete on their teams.
It is amazing how far the IPF has come in just the last 5 years since the first classic powerlifting worlds, powerlifting has gone through the roof. The Arnold classic has been hugely important to that. While Raw Nationals and the World Championships are highly exciting and the live-streaming of the events garners thousands of views every year. The Arnold Sports Festival is different. One of the few events that allow a plethora of strength sports to be held to the highest level, attracting almost 200,000 visitors this year and being shared all over social media.
The profile of the event only serves to boost the popularity and success of powerlifting. The amalgamation of hundreds of thousands of people in one place surrounding strength sports only serves to boost all of them.
Characters such as Ray Williams and Blaine Sumner have transformed the way that we approach powerlifting. Seeing multiple 1000+ squats in one day is a huge jump forward. Seeing all of this is tremendous for the progression of our sport. For a while, powerlifting was just something a sport considered for the rejects of football and hammer throwing. But, now it has become a sport in its own right! Kids start early and thousands of people all across the world call it their passion, their profession, and their competition.
The Arnold is amazing because it isn’t just one meet. It combines all the best elements of powerlifting and includes the best lifters from across all weight classes. It is truly an incredible weekend which concludes in a multitude of world records and some amazing lifting to watch. My ultimate goal in powerlifting is to compete at worlds and achieve the highest honor in drug tested powerlifting. But, I think I would be hard fought to not want to be there lifting amongst the best of the best and inspiring the next generation.
I am so excited for the future of powerlifting, this generation may be great, but, powerlifting is really just getting started and I am so grateful for everyone that makes this all possible and cultivates this great community. It may never be an Olympic sport, it may never provide me with fame or success but it does so much for so many people and I can’t wait to see what is next!