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Jessica is our 2016 Olympic Hopeful and Sarah is our 2012 Olympian in Weightlifting. We're setting out to be "Pretty Strong" and we encourage you to do the same.


Sunday, January 3, 2016

2015 World Championships: Part 1

This was my fourth World Championships and by far the most interesting.

A few weeks before the World Championships, I get a call asking if I would like to be put on the World Team as an alternate and I said yes. I'm not going to go too deep into the details of the ins and outs of this situation but, long story short, I ended up placed on the team to actually compete. This caused a big stink in the weightlifting community.

There was a big campaign about one of the other athletes and against me being on the team and was a bigger distraction to me than I should have allowed. The campaign felt like a personal attack, it was a distraction to myself, and it took away from the other athletes on the World Team and the fact that Team USA and Houston were hosting the largest and best World Championships ever. Just like when my suspension happened over two years ago, suddenly, people wanted me on their podcasts and interview me for their websites. I declined all but two interviews during this time. A.) I hate bandwagoners and people who try to exploit drama/heartache B.) There are way more important and better things to talk about that can actually help athletes and promote the sport and the athletes. C.) I needed to focus on training and competing. 

Anywho...back to me! World Champs! Yay!

So, originally, the plan was to prepare for the President's Cup in Russia. So accepting my position as an alternate cut out three weeks of training. I knew that even without being 100% I could score major points so I had that confidence under my belt. This was a stressful time for me as I had just pulled out of my classes because I couldn't do them while training/competing and I was told I was going to face "severe financial penalties" for doing so. I was trying to figure out finances, school, my car needed major repairs, I was planning a move to Colorado, I had the World Champs to prepare for then get ready for the President's Cup, oh and I was still working two jobs. I was feeling overwhelmed to say the least and I even cried at practice. Inconsequentially, all of my gear I was supposed to get from USAW for making the World Team and the President's Cup never got delivered to my address. So, I didn't have any Team USA gear. Which didn't help my perceived feelings of already not belonging on the team. While I was at the World Champs, the Nike Rep and Eleiko rep help give me some merchandise that the other team members has so I at least had something from my kit. I was most concerned about having a USA singlet. I wanted so much to look like and feel part of the team. Most of my Team USA gear was from 2012/2013 when I was 50 lbs lighter. So a lot of my own stuff was ill-fitting so I made due with what I had and what the reps gave me. Thanks, Nike and Eleiko!

I couldn't financially handle all the time I was going to have to take off for all of my competitions and travel so I decided to work the week of the World Champs. Jessica was my roommate and she had to compete Monday and her coach talked to me about staying at my house Sunday night as to not disturb her getting ready for work at 5 am. I love Jessica and I had to do what was right for Team USA. Jessica did a phenomenal job, so it all worked out! *pats self on back as if I had something to do with it.

That night, one of the USOC media guys wanted to interview me. Which, I accepted. I talked to him in great detail and frankly with him about a lot of things. After the interview I asked him what his angle was. What did he want to share? The last article written about me was a huge disappointment and was very upsetting. He said, "Well what did you want me to talk about?" I told him, "I would like it if you kept it about weightlifting and about the athletes and how exciting it is to have Team USA hosting the World Championships." You know, the important, relevant things. He responded "Well, now I don't want to write the article any more." "Why not?" "I don't want to make you mad." This was because off record I was telling him what happened with the last article and needless drama I've had to deal with for the past couple years. "I can tell you until I'm blue in the face what I'd like you to write about but, you're just going to do whatever you want anyway. So, the only thing I can ask you to do is 'do the right thing.'" That's how I left the conversation and went to my room to go to sleep. I had a horrible feeling in my gut about the interview and immediately regretted doing it and declined all further interviews except one after my competition. I didn't get any sleep that night except maybe an hour only to have to wake up at 5 am and go to work the next day.

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