By Duncan Mackay

USA Weightlifting_logoSeptember 1 - USA Weightlifting (USAW) has appointed Michael Massik as its new chief executive despite the fact he left a similar role at USA Fencing four years under something of a cloud.

Massik served as executive director of USA Fencing from 1996 until 2008, leaving after the sport had enjoyed its best performance with a total of six medals at Beijing, including a second consecutive gold for Mariel Zagunis in the women's saber. 

But that followed the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) having to step in and start directly funding the athletes after several complained that they had not received any money since the 2004 Games in Athens, where Zagunis had become the first American fencer for a century to win a gold medal.

According to Sports Illustrated, just before leaving Massik reported that USA Fencing had lost $980,875 (£618,243/€779,942) in the financial year ending July 31 2007, which he blamed on bookkeeping errors made by a former employee.

Massik left after Carl Borack, a four-time Olympic team captain, had led calls for him to be fired.

Since leaving USA Fencing, Massik had been a principal with Massik-Burton LLC, a firm that claims to have provided consulting services to multiple National Governing Bodies (NGB).

Massik will take over a sport where the US struggles to make an impact on the world stage.

Tara Nott_wins_Olympic_gold_Sydney_2000An American weightlifter has not won an Olympic medal since Tara Nott claimed the gold in the women's -48 kg division at Sydney in 2000

It did not win a medal at London 2012 and has failed to get an athlete on the podium since Sydney in 2000 when Tara Nott won gold in the women's -48 kilogram category and Cheryl Haworth bronze in the +75kg division.

An American male has not won an Olympic medal since Los Angeles in 1984 when the Soviet Bloc countries boycotted the event. 

Then Mario Martinez claimed silver in the super heavyweight and Guy Carlton bronze in the heavyweight. 

"Michael joins the USAW having had a very deep background in NGB leadership and Olympic Movement," said Artie Drechsler, the chairman of USAW, which is based in Colorado Springs.

"Under his leadership, fencing went from no [Olympic] medals in Atlanta [1996] to six medals in Beijing [2008], and a USA fencer won a gold medal in the sport for the first time in 100 years.

"During the same period, the annual budget for fencing went from less than $1 million (£630,000/€795,000) to nearly $4 million (£2.5 million/€3.2 million) and membership grew from approximately 8,000 to 25,000."

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