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World Championships returns to USA

Moment of the Year by Janis Schmees

The moment had finally arrived and the United States Team was summoned into the meeting room in Paris, France where the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) President
Dr. Tamas Ajan and the Executive Board were awaiting to see the final presentation of the day. A million thoughts were racing through our minds and surely everyone’s heart was beating as rapidly as mine, as we realized that the many months of bid preparation and hours of hard work leading up to this second were about to unfold. We had one shot at this… one opportunity to share why Houston, Texas in the United States of America, would be the right choice to host the 2015 World Championships. If we couldn’t clearly outline our package or articulate the vision and reasons why our destination would be the right choice at this time, then it would be years of waiting for another opportunity.

The United States had bid twice before and the chance to hold this prestigious competition had eluded us each time. In fact, the World Championships had not been hosted in our country since 1978. A haunting fact that we all knew, but hardly focused on due to our belief that tenacity is part of competing, and quite frankly, part of life. The United States Olympic Committee, USA Weightlifting, and Harris County – Houston Sports Authority executives had meticulously rehearsed the presentation together several times, including the night before, to ensure that the technology was going to cooperate and that each piece of important bid information was going to be properly conveyed. From my viewpoint, our team of presenters emerged as professional, passionate, and knowledgeable people about the sport of weightlifting, but as later discovered, that’s how each team appeared. Everyone had put as much time and effort into the process as we had, and each team had raised an unprecedented amount of funding to support the sport of weightlifting.

When our allotted time was up and the presentation over, the inevitable vote by the IWF Executive Board needed to take place. We stepped out of the room. Then, what seemed to be an eternity, but was truly only minutes, each country was asked to step back into the meeting chamber to be present during the announced decision. With humbleness and great excitement, we held our breath while waiting for the outcome. That’s when, for me, the most memorable moment of the year took place and something very magical happened… the United States, on its third attempt, was awarded the opportunity to host the grand, 2015 World Championships in Houston, Texas!

by Janis Schmees, Executive Director of the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority

Send your Most Memorable Moment of 2011 to Dezso Dobor, IWF Media Officer ( or the IWF Secretariat in order to be published!