So let’s take the Wayback machine and take a trip back to the 1980’s when women’s weightlifting was considered little more than a preposterous idea.
Here are some of the things you would have had to face if you were a woman and wanted to enter the sport of weightlifting.
· Women were not allowed in YMCA’s where most of the weightlifting training in this country took place in those days.
· Women were not allowed in most weight rooms.
· Weigh-in rules required that competitors be weighed in the nude, and with so few women involved in the sport it was difficult to find someone to conduct the women’s weigh-in.
· All the bars were 20 kg, 28 mm bars.
· Many of the male coaches refused to coach women.
· There were many opportunistic entry level coaches claiming to be women’s weightlifting specialists with ulterior motives in mind.
· If there was a women’s session in a competition it was inevitably scheduled for early morning. These usually consisted of no more than 3 or 4 athletes so warm-ups had to take place in a very compressed time space.
· There were rarely awards for women.
· Some officials were categorically opposed to women’s participation.
· Many members of the weightlifting community considered women to be opportunists and did not regard them as serious athletes.
· Until women’s lifting became an Olympic sport, the US women’s team to the world championships were not outfitted by official team sponsor adidas.
So in this women’s history month, let’s pause for a moment to appreciate all the adversity, foolishness and nonsense that the pioneers of the women’s weightlifting movement had to put up with in order that the succeeding generations could have a clear path forward in pursuit of their weightlifting dreams.