USA Weightlifting Bids To Host Worlds, Announces Friendship Cup

by USA Weightlifting

View of Atlanta skyline with stadium in front (Photo by USA Weightlifting)
Aerial view of Atlanta's skyline, taken in 1992.


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Weightlifting announced its interest in hosting the 2022 IWF World Championships, submitting a plan to the International Weightlifting Federation on March 24. The sport’s premier global competition was previously slated to be held this fall in Chongqing, China.

The Chinese Weightlifting Association resigned as host on March 23 due to COVID-19 prevention and control rules that would require all athletes and officials to quarantine for 21 days. The IWF in turn opened a 15-day period during which member federations could submit a letter of intent to host.

USA Weightlifting’s bid proposes the annual competition that determines the world’s strongest athletes be held in Atlanta, Georgia.

Capital of the Peach State, Atlanta successfully hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 1996 and will already be home to this year’s North American Open Finals from Dec. 1-4, 2022, at the Georgia International Convention Center (GICC).

A U.S.-based World Championships would utilize the same venue and commence around Nov. 27 with the closing weekend taking place concurrently with the North American Open Finals. The GICC is connected via the free ATL SkyTrain to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), the United States’ busiest airport, and walking distance to the event’s host hotels.

The U.S. also submitted nomination forms in March to potentially host the IWF Electoral Congress, June 25-26, 2022, during USA Weightlifting Nationals Week, which will be held in conjunction with UFC International Fight Week in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The USA Weightlifting Friendship Cup will also debut that week at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This exhibition concept, not currently sanctioned by the IWF, will see two-person teams where a man is randomly paired with a woman from a different nation. Youth-level athletes will compete June 25-27, followed by juniors June 28-30 and seniors July 1-3. Results will be determined by each team’s Sinclair coefficient.

“I had hoped to introduce the idea of a mixed-nation/mixed-gender team at a World Cup level, and I still hope this might happen internationally” said Ursula Papandrea, USA Weightlifting international relations director. “I think it is another example that demonstrates the USA Weightlifting ‘action versus talk’ approach.”

USA Weightlifting has a proven track record of successfully hosting the senior-level IWF World Championships, including the 2015 edition in Houston, Texas, when the U.S. held the event for the first time in 28 years, and the 2017 meet in Anaheim, California, when the U.S. stepped in for original host Malaysia. The 2019 IWF Youth World Championships was held in Las Vegas. An IWF Congress was held during each of those events, as was an IWF Executive Board meeting in 2018 in Colorado Springs, Colorado – known as Olympic City USA.

USAW plans to work with the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s Government Relations division to make every reasonable effort to ensure visas are delivered for the IWF Congress and/or World Championships, a route that was effective for the International Table Tennis Federation’s Annual General Meeting in November 2021 in Houston.

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