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Oct 25, 2020

Paula Aranda is the Chair of the Board for USA Weightlifting. As a 31-year-old woman of color, her background is unfortunately all too rare within sports governance. Perhaps equally rare is her clear and unequivocal stance on clean sport. 

USA Weightlifting is currently locked in an international battle for the integrity of its sport as the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) tries to protect a culture of secrecy, bribery, and cheating. With Paula at the helm, USA Weightlifting recently took a stand via public statement to admonish the actions of the international governing body. This statement had us giving a virtual stand ovation as it was perhaps the clearest statement for clean sport that we've ever seen a federation make. 

Paula joins Chris and Kara for this episode to talk about the reasons for that statement and why she and her board are fighting so hard for clean athletes. We start by getting background on Paula herself and then discuss her origins in weightlifting as a competitor and eventually board member. She discusses her indoctrination into a culture of clean sport within USA Weightlifting that started the first time she walked into a gym. 

She shares more about the differences in the culture in the USA versus internationally and how politics and corruption are protecting a culture of doping outside the US. To conclude, she gives details on the athlete-first approach to governance her board is taking in order to protect the integrity of results here in the US.

To quote the USA Weightlifting statement, "we are not done fighting for our sport or clean athletes worldwide." We are right there with you, Paula. Thank you for the example you are setting for federations worldwide.