Carissa Gump Stands Tall at USA Weightlifting

By Connie Jeske Crane, August 22, 2016

What are your big-picture goals in your role at USA Weightlifting?

Once I completed school, I realized there’s a whole other side athletes don’t see—the sweat and hard work that goes into executing an event—on the operations and communications sides. My true passion and focus is fundraising and development, and I also oversee our foundation. Our primary goal is fundraising to support our athletes and alleviate outside financial pressures via stipends. Our direct support to athletes has grown from $72,000 in 2011 to $380,000 last year.

What kinds of initiatives are you involved in?

Our events have changed tremendously from a basic model to competitions [that are] an experience for athletes and their families. I’d like us to continue in that direction. We have a coach mentorship program, and we’re focusing on long-term athlete development.

On the social media side, we’re a lot more interactive—posting countdowns, developing hashtags. We’re also live webcasting our events, which is hugely important. Family members love it, but also from our analytics, we’ve discovered people all over the world are watching. We want to grow our fan base, our events and the sport itself. Especially on the women’s side, the depth has increased drastically.

Is there one aspect of the Olympics you would improve?

It would be having a clean field of play, meaning anti-doping regulation so you know all athletes are competing on an equal level.

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