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CPOW Weekly Update for April 15, 2013

Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling

SUMMARY: USA, Iran and Russia to wrestle in Grand Central Terminal in New York City on May 15 alongside Beat the Streets Gala… UFC President Dana White to partner with USA Wrestling and CPOW in the Keep Olympic Wrestling effort… Curby Cup to feature USA, Hungary, Lithuania and Serbia competing in Greco-Roman in LaGrange, Ill. on May 11… Billy Baldwin, Ashton Kutcher, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Mario Lopez and Matthew Modine to support Keep Olympic Wrestling effort… California Senate and Minnesota House pass resolutions supporting Olympic Wrestling… Pennsylvania Legislature to vote on support for Olympic wrestling on Monday, April 15… Olympic speedskating champion Anton Apollo Ohno steps up to support Olympic wrestling… Kyle Dake answers fan questions on CPOW Twitter site, @WrestlingVision… Russia launches its Olympic wrestling campaign, "Wrestling! To be continued" with announcement in four cities... Japan launches an online petition site with the aim of submitting 100,000 signatures to the IOC supporting wrestling…

The Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling (CPOW) is issuing a weekly update on Mondays, informing the wrestling community and the general public on its activities.

CPOW is a group of wrestling leaders assembled by USA Wrestling. Its charge is to oversee the effort within the United States to Keep Wrestling In the Olympics, as part of a coordinated international strategy designed to retain wrestling in the Olympics.

Here are the key news items that developed in the last week on the domestic and international scenes.

United States News and Efforts

• USA Wrestling and Beat the Streets Wrestling, Inc. has announced that the United States, Russia and Iran, will come together in solidarity to wrestle in Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal in New York City on Wednesday, May 15. The Rumble On The Rails,” is a showcase event of FILA’s World Wrestling Month in May. It is held alongside the annual Beat the Streets Awards Gala, which follows at Bryant Park Grill. A ticket will be required for both the competition and the Gala. This is the fourth straight year that a major international wrestling event has been hosted as part of the Beat the Streets Gala, which raises funds for youth wrestling in New York City. This is the first time in 10 years that Iran has competed in the United States in wrestling, and the third time in the last 20 years it will have competed in New York. The USA and Russia have a long history of wrestling competition between their nations. This event is a true example of how wrestling transcends politics and cultural differences. The USA vs. Iran dual features current international freestyle wrestling rules. The USA vs. Russia dual meet is in all three Olympic styles and is expected to showcase some experimental wrestling rules designed to improve the sport.

• UFC president Dana White, who leads the most successful Mixed Martial Arts organization in the world, announced that the UFC would join forces with USA Wrestling in the Keep Olympic Wrestling effort. White was quoted by Yahoo Sports on the topic, saying “I’ve met with a lot of top guys in wrestling. I met with them last Tuesday, and the UFC’s joining the fight to help save Olympic Wrestling.” CPOW made a statement that it has aligned with top organizations in mixed martial arts in the effort. CPOW member and NCAA Champion Tommy Rowlands, who developed a spirited relationship with White through Twitter, said, “we will accept whatever assistance is offered and will work with Dana and the UFC to develop a working partnership going forward.” CPOW Director of Development and Finance John Bardis said, “this budding relationship between wrestling and the UFC holds tremendous promise to assist us not only with our efforts with the IOC to remain in the Olympics, but also to increase the popularity of wrestling in the United States and around the World.” The UFC has exploded in popularity and expanded into over 130 international markets and wrestling has long been a significant thread of the fabric of mixed martial arts, developing many of its greatest champions and legends. In another interview, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney called wrestling the "single most important feeder system" for mixed martial arts in an Associated Press interview.

• USA Wrestling and the Jacob Curby Foundation announced a second major international competition which is part of World Wrestling Week, the 2013 Curby Cup set for LaGrange, Ill. on Saturday, May 11. The United States will take on the national teams of Hungary, Lithuania and Serbia in Greco-Roman wrestling. The U.S. team will feature the 2013 U.S. Open Greco-Roman champions which will be determined in Las Vegas, Nev., April 18-20. In its fourth year, the Curby Cup is held in honor of the late Jacob Curby, a Greco-Roman Team USA member who unexpectedly passed away at the age of 25 in January 2010. CPOW member and wrestling legend Dan Gable, an Olympic and World champion wrestler and one of the greatest coaches in history, is the honorary chair of the 2013 Curby Cup.

• Variety magazine reported that “a group that includes Billy Baldwin, Ashton Kutcher, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Mario Lopez and Matthew Modine are going to the mat to help” the effort to Keep Olympic Wrestling. CPOW member and Binghamton Univ. wrestler Billy Baldwin said that “when the time comes, and that time will be soon, there will be a menu of different things that we’ll be asking those involved to do.” Baldwin is spearheading CPOW’s effort to bring celebrities and other famous individuals into the cause.

• The California Senate passed a resolution supporting wrestling as an Olympic sport on Monday, April 8 in Sacramento. State Senator Lou Correa and a coalition of bi-partisan lawmakers presented Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 26, urging the International Olympic Committee to reverse its decision to eliminate wrestling as an Olympic sport. It passed by a unanimous 37-0 vote. A press conference on the steps of the Capitol featured California wrestlers Stephen Abas, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist in freestyle and high school stars Marina and Regina Doi, twin sisters who represented the USA on the Cadet World Team. Don Martinez, a member of California USA Wrestling Board, was also part of the wrestling delegation.

• The Minnesota House recently passed a resolution opposing the IOC Executive Board recommendation to remove wrestling as a core sport of the Olympics beginning in 2020. The resolution, introduced by State Representative Bob Dettmer, expresses the importance of wrestling has to Minnesota, the United States and the Olympic Games. After approval, the resolution was signed by Dettmer and Paul Thissen, Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives.

• Pennsylvania state Rep. Brandon Neuman and state Sen. Bob Robbins will present House Resolution 219 and Senate Resolution 79 on Monday, April 15, both urging the restoration of wrestling as an Olympic sport. U.S. Olympic wrestlers and coaches from Pennsylvania are scheduled to participate. In addition, Penn State will bring wrestlers and coaches to be honored in the House and Senate for the university’s three consecutive NCAA wrestling championships.

• Olympic champion short-track speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno of the United States, current host of GSN’s “Minute to Win It” game show and a winner on “Dancing With the Stars,” came out in support of the Keep Olympic Wrestling effort. Ohno said that he talked with the International Olympic Committee opposing the recommendation to take wrestling out of the Games. "You know how hard these guys train. They're different athletes. Any fighting sport is one that requires an immense amount of dedication. Making weight is the first fight. I used to room with wrestlers my entire career. They're awesome -- animals. I think it'll get put back in,” said Ohno. He said that he might use his new show as a way to bring attention to the issue. "I’ll just go out there in a singlet and we just see what happens,” he quipped.

• NCAA champion Kyle Dake of Cornell, the first four-time NCAA champion in four different weight classes, spent an hour on the Keep Olympic Wrestling Twitter site @WrestlingVision, answering questions from fans around the world. Dake has said it is his goal to win World and Olympic titles for the United States and has been a leading young voice in the Keep Olympic Wrestling movement.

International Relations News and Effort

• The Russian Wrestling Federation has launched its national campaign for support Olympic wrestling, which is entitled “Wrestling! To be continued,” as part of World Wrestling Month. The campaign featured major wrestling activities in the cities of Moscow, Kalingrad, Cheboksary and Kyzyl. Included was the National Youth Greco-Roman Championships in Moscow, which featured teams from 69 regions of the country. A number of Keep Olympic Wrestling activities were part of the festivities in all four cities. European freestyle champion Opan Sat won the tournament in Kyzyl, wearing a Save Olympic Wrestling singlet. "Wrestling made me an athlete, an individual, set me in life, helped find friends, taught good things, and we just have to do everything we can to keep it in the Olympics,” said Sat.

• Supporters of wrestling in Japan launched an online petition site with the aim of submitting 100,000 signatures to the International Olympic Committee to keep wrestling in the Olympics. The website, entitled "Save Olympic Wrestling," was launched by the Japan Wrestling Federation and can be accessed in several languages. "The Japan Wrestling Federation is deeply disappointed by the decision to try to remove wrestling from the Olympics. We ask everyone for their support to keep wrestling at the Olympic Games for 2020 and beyond,” said the JWF in a public statement.

We ask one thing from the wrestling community. Please stay informed and stay involved. You can do this by registering on We will give you weekly updates on the activities of CPOW and the international wrestling community so you can truly be a part of the solution.
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