London – Rio – Anaheim: through a Competition Manager’s eyes
Last August 6th, the biggest show on Earth was about to start. The Weightlifting venue was starting to fill with people from all parts of Rio and from around the World. Millions of people were watching on TV and were excited to see fantastic athletes lift tremendous weights.
For the Rio 2016 Weightlifting staff, it all started during the London 2012 Games. At that moment, I was appointed as the Rio 2016 competition manager. My background as a Weightlifting training center coordinator and a physical education professor in a university got me covered, but that could never fully prepare me for the complexity of the Games. At this point, the participation of the IWF officials and secretariat was decisive. Special praise must be given to the technical delegates Mr. Sam Coffa and Mr. Attila Adamfi, cornerstones of this preparation.
Together we accomplished many things. We were happy to see new camera coverage with different angles and modern technologies in the sport of Weightlifting. Thanks to this, the television audience reached an all-time high, surpassing other very popular sports. Weightlifting reached both old and new fans.
On the sport side, rules and traditions of the sport were strictly observed. However, we still had room to innovate. The color of the discs was adapted to match the Rio 2016 look, creating a unique photo memory, experience and feelings for athletes and coaches. More television sets were made available in the warm-up area as well as an extra attempt board in the field of play. The newly implemented ‘Last Call Room’ was a success, allowing the television broadcasters to better ‘tell the story’ of the athletes, coaches and officials.
Out of the competition venue, the Olympic Village was no more than 5 minutes away by bus, meaning no stress regarding transportation to athletes. The training hall had 50 platforms stocked with plenty of equipment. The same equipment was used in the Spectator Experience Area, where the general audience could enjoy, take photos and even practice some Weightlifting (sometimes even in the presence of the great Mr. Pyrros Dimas). Still talking about the equipment, platforms, discs and barbells were kept as legacy from the Games been used now days by a National Training Center, administered by the Brazilian Navy.
One year after the Games I am proud and happy to be involved in a new challenge in a now very active Member Federation. Under the leadership of Ms. Ursula Garza Papandrea (IWF Vice President and USA Weightlifting President) and Mr. Phil Andrews (USA Weightlifting CEO) I now have the role of Events Senior Manager in USA Weightlifting. New role, new challenges: at the end of 2017 we will host the World Championships in Anaheim, California, USA. Once again, I am sure we will all have great memories to revisit one year after! See you all there!
USA Weightlifting Senior Events Manager
Former Rio 2016 Sport Manager