It’s Friday the 14th of August and Dallas is muggy. Our cab just pulled up at the Hilton Anatole, a massive fortress of a hotel where the this year’s USAW Nationals will be held. Approximately 250 athletes and 150 coaches have earned the chance to compete here this weekend, one of them being SLC Barbell’s head coach, Cassidy Duffield. In just two short days she will take the stage to defend her title of 2014 National Champion but right now we have to worry about getting all of her luggage up to the hotel room. Although she doesn’t own an article of clothing that covers much more than a shoe, she has managed to pack enough luggage to lead an expedition. Inside one of the suitcases is a kettlebell. The cab driver struggles with it for a second and then decides to leave that one to me.
The 2015 USA Weightlifting Nationals Championships will serve as the primary qualifier for the 2015 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships that will take place in November in Houston. The worlds in Houston will serve as the Olympic qualification event for the 2016 Olympic Games, which will take place in August in Rio de Janeiro.
Cassidy looks up at the giant hotel, takes a deep breath and walks in. She didn’t think she would be back here this year and she certainly didn’t think she would have the opportunity to defend her title.
The road to up to this moment has been full of extreme highs and lows. Last year at this time Cassidy was on top of the world. She had just won Nationals as a rookie. The future looked bright. By December of 2014 all of that changed when she suffered a disc injury that left her right arm unable to lift overhead. The doctors said that it would be a year or more until she would be able to consider lifting again. Months of rehab, smart training, hard work have now gotten her back to this moment. Another opportunity to compete at Nationals.
Follow Cassidy Sunday as she represents SLC Barbell and defends her title. You can watch the action live here: http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Weightlifting/LIVE
Most girls are running around here trying to figure out ways to lose weight so they can make their weight class. Cassidy is seen here trying to Google the nearest cupcake shop.