Press Release: USA Powerlifting Continues The Fight For Drug Free Powerlifting: Threatened With Fines and Suspensions



July 30, 2021

USA Powerlifting Continues The Fight For Drug Free Powerlifting: Threatened With Fines and Suspensions

We will continue to openly share updates on the challenges with the IPF. USA Powerlifting exists to provide the best drug-free powerlifting platform in the world for our members and will do whatever it takes to preserve a clean platform.

High-level overview:

The International Powerlifting Federation EC (IPF EC) has recently voted to appoint only one individual to hear cases before their Doping Hearing Panel (DHP).
The IPF EC then sent USA Powerlifting to the IPF DHP for conducting drug tests at the local level without the IPF’s authority to be heard by the one IPF EC appointee on the DHP.
The IPF has threatened USA Powerlifting with fines, suspension, and removal from all committee assignments if we continue to drug test contrary to what the IPF EC has demanded of USA Powerlifting.
The proposed sanctions include withdrawal or refusing entries to rightfully nominated athletes.
USA Powerlifting remains committed to drug testing at all levels.


(Anchorage, Alaska) Below you will find the letter USA Powerlifting received from the IPF last week, it is a referral to the IPF DHP. This ‘panel’ has historically been presided over by a group of members, as the name implies. However, within the last month a member of the IPF Executive proposed that the IPF DHP be reduced to only one person to serve as judge and jury.. This proposal was approved by majority vote of the IPF EC and is now instituted. USA Powerlifting will be judged by a single member of the Doping Hearing Panel appointed by the IPF EC. This concerning move is no coincidence and demonstrates the lengths that the IPF EC will go to circumvent due process and their own constitutional bylaws to serve their personal agenda. 

This referral to the IPF DHP is happening specifically because USA Powerlifting does not consent to being governed by an international body that declares itself in charge of all aspects of drug testing at every level. The IPF has mandated  that all countries, if they choose to drug test, must comply with all aspects of the 2021 WADA Code of which USA Powerlifting is not a signatory.  The IPFs interpretation of the WADA code demands that we support the entities ‘approved by WADA with usurious fees, with no input into our own testing program or knowledge of the athletes tested (no transparency of actual testing). This would so severely limit USA Powerlifting’s drug testing that the idea of a clean platform becomes laughable. 

These changes are driven by recent changes codified by WADA in the most recent version of the Code, implemented January 1, 2021. Through this document, WADA, a monopoly driven organization, is attempting to assume control of all drug testing at every level. They have recently made public statements regarding the control of drug testing at the collegiate and professional level, presumably in all sports. The introduction to the 2021 WADA Code speaks to their power grab for all anti doping efforts by prohibiting any national federation or sporting organization from conducting ANY testing outside of WADA’s control. Arguments for such a centrally controlled system cite problems in other sports, such as Olympic Weightlifting, and other nations with national doping programs. In short, because some are cheats, everyone must be, and a worldwide monopoly and government is justified.  

The sobering facts about IPF drug testing, or lack thereof, are not usually subject to scrutiny, until now. The numbers tell the truth. So much so, the IPF no longer publicly shares its drug testing information.  To be clear, the IPF’s ‘drug testing program’ has zero transparency.  The IPF wants to control our drug testing when they are unable to do a satisfactory job at the international level or even require all nations to test.  USA Powerlifting will not stoop to the low bar set by the IPF’s new way of “drug tested powerlifting.”

Drug Testing Facts

USA Powerlifting conducted more drug tests
than every other IPF member nation combined in 2019
The IPF stopped drug testing world records
The IPF does not require member Nations to drug test
The IPF is more worried about appearing ‘compliant’ on paper
for WADA than to actually perform adequate drug testing

Compliance with the IPF mandates would, at best, result in either financial insolvency for USA Powerlifting due to the outrageous fees of the drug testing monopoly, or a reduction of drug testing by approximately 90%. Such a system would result in the elimination of drug testing at the local level and the testing of a select handful of elite level athletes. We firmly stand by our belief that a clean platform at every level is absolutely necessary for the ethos of drug free powerlifting and that anything less than this is a detriment to clean sport and fair play.  

USA Powerlifting’s Executive Committee met with the IPF EC on a Skype call two weeks ago concerning our position and we provided options. In short, we need to continue testing at the local level and proposed a split federation as an alternative. Whereas the IPF and WADA are demanding 100% compliance, citing the IOC as the reason, we detailed the de facto split when professional athletes are concerned and suggested this as a model that has been acceptable to the IOC and which apparently receives WADA blessing. In short, professional athletes are allowed to participate in their respective professional leagues; i.e., NBA, NHL, Pro Tennis, etc, which are not WADA compliant until it is time for the Olympics. At that time, they cross over to Team USA and are subject to all WADA-defined testing requirements. The IPF and their drug testing vendor, CCES, rejected this idea as unheard of, and not WADA compliant.

As you will read in the letter, the IPF continues to threaten us with fines, suspension, and removal from all committee assignments. What is most telling is that the IPF threatens athletes’ ability to compete. This includes athletes, duly nominated by a nation which is, at this point, in good standing. It is clear that the IPF does not believe in being innocent until proven guilty, and that they will stop at nothing to penalize the athletes they claim to serve as punishment for administrative disagreements between federations. This is proven by the retroactive denial of world records at the 2020 Arnold Sports Festival and their refusal to argue the case before the International Court of Arbitration for Sport.

As stated previously, it is difficult to imagine that it is possible to drug test too much. It is difficult to comprehend that the IPF views countries who do no testing as ‘WADA compliant.’ It is also hard to imagine that WADA can appoint itself in charge of drug testing at every level and in every country and in every sport and define its method as the only acceptable method and all others as unethical and illegal. Perhaps we have fundamentally different values.  


Q. When is the hearing scheduled for? 

A. USA Powerlifting has not been informed of a hearing date at the time of this press release.

Q. Will everyone be able to compete? 

A. Athletes will continue to compete as normal at all USA Powerlifting meets. What we do not know at this time is if the IPF will bar those athletes already nominated for IPF level events. The IPF’s letter has threatened to punish the athletes.

Q. How does this affect current team members? 

A. Unfortunately, we do not have the answer to this question. USA Powerlifting is currently an IPF member nation in good standing and has nominated our athletes accordingly.  At the time of this press release, the IPF has accepted the nominations. With that said, we have no confidence that the IPF will not punish the lifters by denying their entry to an IPF event, as was similar with the case of the IPF retroactively denying World Records at the 2020 Arnold Sports Festival.

Q. As a member of a USA Powerlifting National Team, what should I do?

A. Proceed with caution. Look for refundable flights. Purchase travel insurance. Contact your head coach with any additional questions. 




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