POLLACK: Female Athletes Must Take Matters Into Their Own Hands After Leadership Lets Man Win Weightlifting Meet

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Lola Pollack Contributor
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Over the last seven years, I’ve poured my heart into Olympic Weightlifting. Starting at just 15, I’ve faced challenges that extended far beyond lifting weights, navigating a landscape that is increasingly indifferent to the integrity of women’s sports. My accolades — a gold medalist at the 2023 U23 National Championships with a 200kg total, participation in over 25 competitions, nine national championships, a Pan American competition and a coaching certification — teeter on the edge of irrelevancy, as the sport I love becomes dominated by men pretending to be women. As an integral part of the Mountain North WSO board I’ve witnessed firsthand the evolution of our sport, an evolution now under threat.

For USA Weightlifting policy to allow a male athlete to compete (and win) in the women’s category at the Masters National Championships in Reno is appalling; it’s a slap in the face to every woman who has spent years honing her body and spirit to compete on what we assumed was a level playing field. To see our governing body issue a statement in support of this farce, prioritizing so-called diversity and inclusion over the blood, sweat and tears of female athletes, is beyond disheartening. They shut down our voices by turning off comments on Instagram, refusing to listen to our input after many of us expressed horror at this change. What’s the point of gender divisions, of meticulously categorized weight classes, of different equipment tailored for women, if it’s all rendered meaningless the moment a man decides to enter our space and dismantle everything we’ve worked for?

This isn’t about inclusion. It’s about erasing women from their own sport. It’s about dismissing our achievements as if they were never worth the podium they were honored on. Every record we break, every medal we earn, are now under threat of being usurped by men. My accomplishments, and those of my fellow female athletes, are not mere footnotes to be overshadowed by this misguided agenda.

It’s especially personal as I consider my younger sister, who is following in my footsteps. The thought of her facing the same battles, of her efforts and potential being sidelined, fuels my resolve to advocate for what’s right. It’s a responsibility I bear not just for my own sake but for hers and the integrity of women’s sports as a whole.

It’s disconcerting that young women, like myself, in the prime of our athletic careers, are compelled to initiate lawsuits and speak out against these injustices. This battle for fairness in women’s sports, a battle fraught with personal and professional risks, is one we’re taking on because those in positions of power and leadership have let us down. The burden of championing the cause of integrity in sports should not fall on the shoulders of athletes like us.

Female athletes cannot allow the foundational principles of our competitions to be dismantled without pushing back. We must fight to protect the legacy and future of women’s weightlifting, ensuring it remains a field where true female athleticism is celebrated, not compromised. Our voices will not be silenced; our achievements will not be usurped. Men have no place in women’s sports.

Lola Pollack is a weightlifter of 7 years, 1-time national champion, 5-time national medalist, 2-time All American Athlete, and 1-time Pan American bronze medalist from Colorado. She is a Level 1 USA Weightlifting coach and acting president of the Mountain North WSO. She is an owner of a small business and passionate about saving women’s sports.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.