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Governor Ehrlich Accepts Invitation To Serve as Honorary Chairman

Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. accepted the invitation to serves as Honorary Chairman of the 7th World Weightlifting Championships for University and College Students. The Olympic Sport event will be held at Mount Saint Mary's College and Seminary, Emmitsburg, MD from June 30 to July 3. An estimated 175 athletes (including men and women in 15 different weight classes) will compete. The event is free and open to the public. This is the first time the State of Maryland has hosted a World Championship in an Olympic sport.

The Championship will begin with an Opening Ceremony at 7:00 PM, Wednesday, June 30, at Knott Arena. It will be a spectacular event with the parade of athletes and a variety of entertainment. President Bush is invited to be the keynote speaker and is considering the invitation.

Weightlifting is among the Summer Olympic sports and has been since the beginning of both the ancient and modern Olympic Games. However, women first competed in this sport at the 2000 Olympic Games. The first gold medal won by a female was awarded to an American (Tara Nott) in the 48Kg (105.7 Lb.) weight class. The sport of Weightlifting significantly differs from Powerlifting in that it involves the movement of free weights without supportive structures (i.e., bench press and squat racks) and is the only Olympic sport involving the use of weights. The sport has been described as a gravity defiant athletic movement combining gymnastics with weights.

The two competitive lifts are the "two hand snatch" and the "two hand clean and jerk." The snatch requires the athlete to take the bar from the platform to an overhead position in one movement and is often done in less than a second. World-class athletes can achieve this lift with double their body weight. The clean and jerk requires the athlete to take the bar from the platform to the shoulders in one movement and overhead in a second movement. World-class athletes are approaching three times their body weight in this lift. The athlete's best of three attempts in each of the two lifts is combined for a total and the person with the best total in a given weight class wins the coveted gold medal with second and third place athletes being awarded silver and bronze medals.

An estimated 300 athletes, coaches, team managers, officials and dignitaries from approximately 60 countries will begin arriving in northern Frederick County on June 27 to prepare for the competition. Athletes, coaches, team managers and medical personnel will be lodged on Mount Saint Mary's campus while officials; dignitaries, other guests and attendees will stay at the Cozy Inn in Thurmont (the Event's headquarters hotel). The Super 8 in Thurmont will handle the overflow. Economic impact of the event is estimated to be $500,000.

Mike Cady is the Event Director. He is an International Referee and a US Senior International Olympic Coach. He also serves as Vice President of the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners. In 2001, while the region was bidding to host the 2012 Olympic Games, Coach Cady presented a bid to host the World University Weightlifting Championships to the World Weightlifting Congress in Turkey (prior to being elected as a County Commissioner). Although the Washington - Baltimore Coalition did not win the US Olympic Committee's nomination to host the 2012 Olympic Games, Coach Cady was successful in bringing the World University Weightlifting Championships to Emmitsburg, Maryland. His bid was chosen over those submitted by Tokyo, Rome, London and Paris.