Powerlifting will never have a single governing body. Itís never going to happen. Powerlifting is also never going to have the same credibility as weightlifting or crossfit, as painful as that might be to hear. It was possible at one time. If someone in the 80ís had made a concerted effort to consolidate most of the feds into a single body, back when gear was in its infancy and the steroid cat was still in the bag of social naivety, then it might have happened. They could have reigned in gear and controlled its development, which to me is the majority of the issue.
That last statement might confuse some. But when the feds were competing (for the attention of both the athletes and the general public), the heavier the weights were, the more attention you could potentially get. So there was no desire to control or limit the development of new equipment. As new technology evolved the sport became less accessible to the general public. The same thing that had garnered powerlifting more attention at one point became a large part of the reason itís not popular to or even known of by Joe Shmo.
If the same thing had happened with weightlifting, it certainly would have been possible for gear to be developed that could vastly increase peopleís lifts.
When I was a kid one of my favorite movies was The Sandlot. When you were a kid you could watch someone playing something on TV, then if you wanted to you could get some like minded kids together and go play it. Those kids loved watching baseball, but they loved playing even more. It cemented their love for the game when the felt the leather of the glove on one hand and the texture of the muddy ball in the other.
The same should be true of lifting. A young man should find his love of iron when he feels the crustiness of the chalk and smells the sweat of a gym where people put all of themselves into moving heavy things.
In the same way, golf was around for hundreds of years before it really became popular. The reason? No one could afford the equipment, much less the expense of going to an actual course. In the 20ís and 30ís if you wanted to just go hit some golf balls you had to hire a caddy to go out and retrieve your balls as you hit them. The game developed by Irish and Scottish shepherds to kill time in the fields had become a game of the elite, not by its design, but by what it had become. It wasnít until technology gave us modern driving ranges and somewhat inexpensive equipment, and many cities devoted land to developing municipal courses that allowed for inexpensive play that golf became a game of the people.
Powerlifting, a sport full of both hormonally and technologically assisted behemoths moving mountains of iron with occasionally questionable form, is not accessible to kids, or even most adults. Itís simply not possible for most kids to see it, try it, and fall in love with it the same way they can with most sports.
At some point everything simply got too out of hand. It makes sense. The raw records in powerlifting havenít changed much in the last 30 years. People are inherently able to move only so much weight. So really, the only ways to keep moving forward are to build new gear, take new steroids, or start a new fed with fresh record books. All 3 have happened in spades.
There is a chance that the course of the sport might shift. Indeed, it already has in many ways. Most are aware of the raw revival going on now in powerlifting. This new development has the potential to ďreset the clockĒ if you will. The numbers will go down, but people not only have no problem with this, they are fully accepting of it. If the raw trend continues to grow then it may be possible for powerlifting to eventually regain much of its lost legitimacy. Powerlifting could evolve into a spectacle similar to the scene at a racetrack on the weekends. There can be real competitions with lots of normal people, then at the end they can bring out the big boys to put on the show. In a world with jet-powered drag racing semi trucks, I see no reason that equipped lifting has to disappear.
Will it happen? For better or worse, no, it wonít. Powerlifting will remain an inaccessible and underground sport for the foreseeable future, spread thin by too many feds, loose judging, and public incredulity thanks to the vilification of PED use.
Current PRs at 242- 495, 345, 585, 1425