ETSU named Olympic training site for weightlifting

East Tennessee State University has been officially designated as a U.S. Olympic Training Site for weightlifting by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

Through a partnership with USOC and USA Weightlifting, the university will recruit men and women who have a proven record in both weightlifting and academics and who aspire to compete at the Olympic level. Those selected will be admitted to ETSU and will enroll as full-time students.

“This center will attract young athletes from around the country who have demonstrated elite-level potential in weightlifting and will bring them to ETSU, where they will be part of the university community,” said Meg Stone, director of the ETSU Olympic Training Site.

Interested weightlifters must meet specific eligibility criteria set forth by the USOC, USA Weightlifting and ETSU. According to Stone, once the athletes arrive on campus they will meet with Dr. Mike Stone, who is director of the Exercise and Sport Science Laboratory at ETSU and is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of sport science. He will design a rigorous training program specific to each athlete.

“The athletes will be expected to adhere to this schedule, which will have them training once, twice or even three times per day,” said Meg Stone, who herself is a distinguished strength and conditioning coach and a two-time Olympian. She is also director of ETSU’s Center of Excellence for Sport Science and Coach Education.

“They will also learn about nutrition, rest, recovery and how to train as an elite athlete,” she added.

The athletes will also participate with the ETSU Weightlifting Club, which is one of ETSU’s sports clubs. Last year, the team won third place at the National Collegiate Weightlifting Championship.

Dr. Mike Stone is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Leisure and Sport Science in the ETSU Claudius G. Clemmer College of Education. In 2011, he received the USA Weightlifting’s Doc Counsilman Coach of the Year award from the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). This award is given annually by the USOC to one coach in USA Weightlifting who has “consistently used sport science to further the training plans of athletes and moved the sport forward.”

Before joining the faculty in 2005, Stone was head of Sports Physiology for the USOC and supervised physiology staff at the USOC centers in Colorado Springs, Colo.; San Diego; and Lake Placid, N.Y.

“At ETSU, we are in the business of fulfilling dreams,” said ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland. “Now, thanks to the visionary work of Dr. Mike Stone, Meg Stone, President Emeritus Stanton, and so many others, we will be able to help young men and women, right here on our campus, as they reach their lifelong dreams of competing in the Olympic Games. This partnership with the United States Olympic Committee and USA Weightlifting has been several years in the making, and it fulfills an institutional dream—one of those “what ifs” that came true through persistence. This is a great day for ETSU and our entire region.”

“We’re constantly looking for new and innovative ways to partner with our national governing bodies to ensure America’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes have everything they need to be successful,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “Dr. Stone and his team are world-class professionals and we’re thrilled to partner with USA Weightlifting and ETSU to offer this incredibly unique program for our athletes.”

USA Weightlifting is the national governing body for weightlifting. In order to be an Olympic training site, ETSU had to sign a memorandum of understanding to provide services and training for a national governing body.

“We are delighted to have the support of the USOC in developing a relationship with ETSU,” said Arthur Drechsler, chair of USA Weightlifting’s Board of Directors. “We have no doubt that the program the university is offering will attract some of our nation’s most promising young athletes. At ETSU they will have the opportunity to advance both their athletic and academic careers at the same time.”

Meg Stone said she hopes other sports will be added as the ETSU training site continues to develop.


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