Pedro Meloni Takes Over USA Weightlifting’s Events

Pedro Meloni USA Weightlifting
Pedro Meloni, USA Weightlifting’s new senior manager of events, will be carrying the NGB’s lion’s share of responsibilities selecting sites and running expert competitions. The job is a testament to his strength providing order to what otherwise could be chaos on stages as big as the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “When you are dealing with more than 7 billion viewers and the top athletes in the world, you have to be sure you are able to deliver a field of play that is up to expectations,” he says. While he’s earned a strong reputation across the globe, don’t expect Meloni to flex his muscles lifting weights. The native Brazilian has never competed in the sport—he practiced judo instead. Regardless, Meloni’s experience suggests he is the right man for the job at USA Weightlifting. Connect Sports talked to Meloni as he was making the move from Brazil to Colorado Springs for the next chapter in his career and life. Describe your duties for the 2016 Rio Games. I was the sport manager for both weightlifting and Paralympic powerlifting. At the Olympic Games Organizing Committee, the sport manager is the person responsible for ensuring all the technical rules are strictly followed during the planning period. The sport manager is also the key contact with the international federations and the main person responsible for ensuring the competition will run smoothly. How do you see your international experience helping you with this new job? To be able to participate and interact on big stages gives you the information on what’s new and what is being used with success in terms of events. Of course, the sport does not change. It doesn’t mean, however, that there are not innovations in what you can do in an event. You also acquire a good dose of realism. A national event for more than 800 athletes running for three days is totally different from an international competition for 300-plus athletes that will take seven days. This is easy to comprehend when you read it, but most people don’t realize those are completely different deliverables. What are the key issues for USA Weightlifting events moving forward? As the events grow bigger and bigger, the biggest challenge is the schedule. There is no room for magic here, but we will always aim for zero tolerance in terms of delays. It’s all about putting the athlete experience in first place. Another thing we want is for athletes and coaches to enjoy their time at our events. We want to create a consistent feeling across them all and improve the sport presentation in many aspects. What is the state of weightlifting, both in this country and globally? Weightlifting is really growing in the USA. The country has never had this many registered members, and the federation in now the biggest in the world in number of affiliates. The next step is to turn this participation into consistent high-level performances and medals at major competitions. Worldwide, the biggest challenge is on rampant doping cases, mainly from the retests from Beijing 2008 and London 2012. The international leadership took a strong position in excluding countries with numerous doping violations from the games, and this sent the correct message to those countries. Now, I trust this same leadership will be able to take the sport out of the ropes and secure its position as a core sport in the Olympic movement.