American Weightlifting is a feature-length documentary film about the Olympic sport of weightlifting in the US. While wildly popular internationally, in the US, weightlifting is an obscure sport with virtually no financial, media or social support. Weightlifters and their coaches struggle to find ways to support the extremely demanding and time-consuming training regimens required for success in the sport while having to work jobs and train in poor conditions, while their international competition often train full-time with financial support and the intense interest of the media and population, and often questionable drug-testing policies.

The movie is about the hard work and dedication of these coaches and athletes to developing individual lifters and the sport as a whole, and their perseverance in the face of the daunting challenge of competing with the rest of the world.

The Production Story

American Weightlifting was conceived by weightlifting coach, weightlifter and weightlifting author and publisher Greg Everett in 2008. In keeping with the theme of the movie and of the state of the sport in the US, he did literally everything himself—wrote, directed, filmed, edited, produced, even scored—using no outside funding and an extremely small budget. The project took four years, as Everett continued to coach his weightlifting team and run his business, Catalyst Athletics, during the process.

Press Info

See the press page here


Featured interviews include Mike Burgener, John Thrush, Jim Schmitz, Bob Takano, Danny Camargo, Kevin Doherty, Paul Doherty, Greg Everett, Matt Foreman, Rick Adams, Casey Burgener, Natalie Woolfolk, Jessica Salvaggio, Brian Wilhelm, Dr. Fran Curaming

Lifting footage including Dangelo Osorio, Aimee Anaya, Kara Yessie, Chioma Amici, Ashley Perkovich, Brian Wilhelm, Steve Pan, Audra Dunning, Tamara Solari, Alyssa Sulay, Blake Barnes, Chyna Cho, Jolie Gentry and many others.

Quotes from the Movie

"You have to be able to get shut down every day and still remember why you have a love affair with the platform and the bar."
—Aimee Everett

"In those countries, weightlifting is a meal ticket. We give up what they gain. In other words, we give up a good job, a good education to be a weightlifter, where they can get that by being a weightlifter."
—Jim Schmitz

"I wanted to make some kind of international team... It could have been the Canadian barbecue meet."
—John Thrush

"I think the high point was I won the state championships one year because a lot of people didn't show up."
—Bob Takano

"Weightlifting is not a formula. It's not sets x reps = result. It's fighting for every kilo on that bar for the long run."
—Paul Doherty

"You really get into a person's life when you take them from the sidewalk to the Olympics. And that's what I did with Thahn Nguyen. He roller skated into my gym one day, and 12 years later he's on the Olympic team."
—Jim Schmitz

"I have the school district to thank for providing me with a facility, although I'm not sure they know that they did it."
—Bob Takano

"We don't have to change the sport to make it interesting enough for spectators or for TV. You have people watching golf and fishing and poker on TV in this country. And you can't tell me that those things are more exciting or interesting than weightlifting."
—Greg Everett

"It took me a long time to work things into a situation where I could do what I wanted to do without deserting my family or moving into a van down by the river."
—John Thrush

"I don't see limitations, I see opportunities to get better. A limitation to me is really just an excuse. If you want a reason to not accomplish something, there are plenty of 'limitations' to identify."
—Rick Adams

"Exceptional athletes are people that get off on that altered state. They love to be in that position where everything works really well. And that’s why you have people who will beat themselves to death and train as hard as they can for months just to have those few seconds on the platform where everything works well. I think it’s an addiction to that altered state that weightlifting is really about."
—Bob Takano

"You either love weightlifting, or you're not in weightlifting. That's it."
—Danny Camargo

"This sport is about athletes, and it's about coaches. And real athletes are going to continue to compete and push themselves whether or not anyone is watching."
—Greg Everett