STRONGEST YOUTH ATHLETES IN AMERICA COMPETE IN USA WEIGHTLIFTING 2018 NATIONAL YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIPS JUNE 14-17 AT DEVOS PLACE, A FIRST FOR GRAND RAPIDS

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CONTACT: Kim Skeltis, APR; (616) 419-8385; kim@blueblazepr.com

Almost 700 Athletes under 18 from 39 States Compete in Largest Youth Weightlifting Event in the World

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., June 5, 2018 – Almost 700 of the strongest weightlifting athletes in America compete in Grand Rapids June 14-17 for a Gold, Silver or Bronze, lifting the equivalent weight of a set of bunkbeds. The surprising part? They are all 17 years and younger, with the youngest competitor at eight years old.

The strongest youth athletes in America compete in the USA Weightlifting Nike National Youth Championships Powered by Rogue Fitness June 14-17 at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids. This is only the second USA Weightlifting national championship in Grand Rapids (the first was the USA Weightlifting Nike American Series Open 3 Powered by Rogue Fitness Sept. 8-10, 2017).

USA Weightlifting, the national governing body for the sport, hosts four national championships annually, of which the USA Weightlifting National Youth Championships is one. This particular championship, the largest youth weightlifting event in the world, is returning to Michigan for a second time (held in Dearborn in 2012).

“We are excited to return to Grand Rapids and DeVos Place for another national weightlifting championship,” said Pedro Meloni, director of events and sponsorships at USA Weightlifting. “Our local event partners – the West Michigan Sports Commission, DeVos Place and Amway Grand Plaza – delivered everything we could hope for to facilitate a smooth-running event last year, and our members loved it. We’re ready to come back to Grand Rapids for another thrilling championship.”

The event has 694 registered athletes from 39 states, including 25 from Michigan and eight from West Michigan (six from the Kalamazoo area, one from Spring Lake and one from Zeeland). Additionally, six world-level athletes who have represented Team USA on the international stage are scheduled to compete, including 15-year-old Emma Nye from Kansas City, Mo., who is an American record holder. The event is estimated to generate $739,717 in economic impact and 1,500 hotel nights booked between the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Rapids Airport and Courtyard by Marriott  Grand Rapids Downtown.

“We appreciate our strong partnership with USA Weightlifting as we enter our second year in hosting a national weightlifting championship in West Michigan,” said Mike Guswiler, president of the West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC). “And we have the added spectator excitement this year of watching the up-and-coming athletes in this sport. You can bet that records will be broken as these amazing young athletes get stronger each year.”

Weightlifting is one of the oldest Olympic sports, dating back to the first modern Olympic Games held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. USA Weightlifting has seen an explosive growth in the sport, increasing from 8,000 members 10 years ago to 27,000 today – due in large part to the popularity of Crossfit, which exposes many new athletes to weightlifting.

Tournament and Ticket Details

The tournament runs all day Friday through Sunday starting at 6 a.m. daily and finishing around 8 p.m. Athletes compete in three age categories – 13 and under, 14 and 15, and 16 and 17 – with boys and girls competing separately. Three platforms (each holding 9 to 16 athletes) will hold sessions simultaneously, and each session lasts approximately two hours. Two events occur during each session – the Snatch, and the Clean and Jerk. Each athlete is permitted three attempts in each lift. The highest weights successfully lifted by each athlete in each event comprise the athlete’s total score. The athlete with the highest total in each weight category is the overall winner of the competition.

Event tickets are $10 per day and $25 for a weekend pass and can be purchased online at weightliftingtickets.com  or in person at the door. For more event information, visit http://bit.ly/18YouthNationals or usaweightlifting.org

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers are needed daily from Tuesday, June 12 through Sunday, June 17 for tasks ranging from load-in and set-up, to supervising an athlete area, to floating. Shifts are approximately four hours, and volunteers receive a free Rogue Fitness T-shirt, plus a food voucher if they work over a meal time.  For volunteer information and to register for a shift, visit http://signup.com/go/wEjfGyj.

Media Credentialing Process

Media wishing to cover the event should contact Kevin Farley, senior director of engagement for USA Weightlifting, at 707-362-1258 or Kevin.farley@usaweightlifting.org.

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About the West Michigan Sports Commission

The non-profit West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) identifies, secures and hosts a diverse level of youth and amateur sporting events to positively impact the economy and quality of life in the region. Since its inception in 2007, the WMSC has booked 664 sporting events and tournaments that attracted more than 1 million athletes and visitors, generating $307 million in direct visitor spending. For more information, visit westmisports.com and Facebook.com/WestMichiganSportsCommission and follow @WestMiSports.

About USA Weightlifting

USA Weightlifting, a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), is the national governing body for the Olympic sport of Weightlifting in the United States. USA Weightlifting’s mission is to enable U.S. athletes to achieve sustained competitive excellence in Olympic competition and to promote and grow the sport of Weightlifting in the United States. For more information, visit USAWeightlifting.org.