With the growth of social media platforms and the simultaneous growth of powerlifting it sometimes seems easy to forget who truly drives this sport when looking at only the highlights. Yes it's great to see a new world record broken but by default the term elite means "a select group" or only a given few. When we think about it this way and the fact that powerlifting like any other sport needs financing in order to continue; it's easy to see there has to be more than a few people maintaining the sport.
Last year alone there was a huge growth spurt in the amount of new competitors that became involved with the sport and this year seems to be panning out to do the same. As a result there are now more competitions available than ever before and you can find one literally at any given month of the year. Stages are getting bigger, sponsors are becoming more involved, and clothing and equipment companies are having more business than they could have ever dreamed of five years ago.
Obviously there is money to be made for the meet directors, powerlifting federations, powerlifting related companies, and even the local communities that benefit from those traveling to stay at hotels, eat at restaurants, etc. (look at Columbus Ohio). For those who understand sport, recreation, and tourism all three are essentially intertwined in an ecosystem of sorts that if done right benefits all in a win-win situation. The athletes get to compete, meet directors can do what they love, sponsors can sell their products, and local communities can benefit from the tourism.
So who's driving all of this? Obviously it can't only be the elite so if you guessed beginner and intermediate lifters then you would be right! By nature they make the majority and without them I truly believe that powerlifting would NOT be growing at the rate that it is today. I've seen complaints within the community about this sometimes but honestly there's a few things we have to remember:
- We all started somewhere so always remember that. From beginner to intermediate to elite we all had to take the same steps up that ladder.
- We can't have powerlifting become a serious sport without being able to make it a profitable commodity and that takes masses. Just look at the WWE, NFL, NBA, MLB, etc.
Now I'm not saying that the elite don't help bring exposure to the sport because they do and all the monsters we have right now are truly bringing main stream attention BUT let's just remember that can only take us so far! The new lifters of today are the future of the sport and personally I can see I'm okay with that.