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|Noel Thompson named Team Leader for 2013 U.S. Women’s World Team |
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Noel Thompson of New York, N.Y. has been named as the Team Leader for the 2013 U.S. Women’s World Team by USA Wrestling, the national governing body for the sport in the United States.
Thompson will serve as Team Leader at the 2013 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, and will be on the Women’s Team USA leadership staff throughout the four-year Olympic cycle.
“USA Wrestling is honored to have such a dedicated and talented Team Leader for our women’s team as Noel Thompson,” said USA Wrestling President James Ravannack. “He brings vast experience, enthusiasm, international influence and a commitment to excellence to this position. We are excited about the program’s future with his leadership.”
Thompson has been a leader within international wrestling for many years, and has helped promote and expand the sport in the United States at many levels.
“Noel has proven to be a true leader within USA Wrestling and the sport. He has been very engaged with the advancement and success of the Women’s Program and brings a infectious passion to the program,” said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender.
“Noel Thompson has been a great ambassador for USA Wrestling for many years. For him to turn his attention to the women’s program and to work to help us get to the next level is fantastic. We are pleased to have his help and enthusiasm as we build towards Rio in 2016,” said National Women’s Coach Terry Steiner.
Thompson serves on the Board of Trustees for the Beat the Streets program in New York City, whose mission is “to develop the full human and athletic potential of the urban youth and to strengthen the culture of New York City wrestling.” Thousands of young people in the city have been provided the opportunity to wrestle through this amazing program.
He has served as the Master of Ceremonies for the last three Beat the Street Gala events in New York City. In 2000, the event featured an all-star challenge event which was held on the U.S.S. Intrepid aircraft carrier in New York Harbor. In 2011, the event featured a USA vs. Russia dual meet in Times Square, the first sports event ever held in this historic location. In 2012, the USA vs. Russia meet returned to Times Square, along with a 60 kg Special Wrestle-off for the U.S. Olympic Team.
Thompson served three years as the Wrestling Chairman for the New York Athletic Club, one of the world’s most successful wrestling clubs on the Olympic level. Prior to that, he served three years as the president of the wrestling club there.
While serving as the NYAC Chairman, the club won four USA Wrestling national team titles, two in men’s freestyle and two in women’s freestyle. In 2010, the NYAC men’s freestyle team won the U.S. Open, snapping the Sunkist Kids streak of consecutive national titles of more than two decades. Two members of the New York Athletic Club, men’s freestyler Jake Herbert and women’s freestyler Adeline Gray, won World medals for the United States under Thompson’s leadership.
He is a member of the Board of Governors of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, and has served on its Outstanding American selection committee for two years.
Thompson is the leader of the organizing committee for the Grapple at the Garden, a major college dual meet event which was held in world-famous Madison Square Garden in 2012. It was the first college wrestling event held in this historic location. There were 14 Div. I teams in the event, including eight teams ranked in the top 25. Five past NCAA champion athletes and numerous All-Americans were also showcased. Plans are to continue this event in the future.
He also has served on the Board of Hofstra University Athletics since 2006. Thompson was a top wrestling star at Hofstra, a four-time NCAA qualifier and two-time conference champion. Three times, he reached the round of 12 at the NCAA Championships. Also during his competitive career, he was an All-American at the 2001 U.S. Open in men’s freestyle. Thompson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in Eastern history from Hofstra.
Thompson competed for Freeport High School on Long Island, where he was an undefeated state champion in 1998. He earned All-American honors at the USA Wrestling Junior Nationals, and was also a folkstyle national All-American. He wrestled for respected coach Terry Haise in high school.
He becomes the first African-American to serve in the role of Team Leader for the U.S. Women’s program, and has been a leading advocate for providing opportunities for all to wrestle throughout his career.
Professionally, Thompson serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Thompson Global, a global macro special situation hedge fund based in New York City. An international firm, Thompson Global is a principal advisor and leader across multiple asset classes in commodities, energy and other opportunities. He has also served in management positions for two of the nation’s most successful investment and banking firms, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan.
“The U.S. women’s program has the potential to be the premier program in the world,” said Thompson. “In this Olympic cycle, we aim to have the first U.S. women’s wrestling Olympic champion and to win the World Championships as a team.”
“There are key things that will take the U.S. women’s program to the next level. First, is to strengthen our structure, and develop a benchmark of athletes to excel on the international level. Second is investment, as our women’s program has not yet been a target for financial support. Third is reaching out to our alumni, and strengthening the relationship with the women wrestlers of the past, creating a strong connection to our current team,” he continued.
Thompson will also work to help create women’s freestyle wrestling as a recognized varsity sport within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), helping develop a strong pipeline of young women wrestlers through expanded college opportunities.
“Another key focus for me is to help bring women’s wrestling front-and-center in terms of publicity,” said Thompson. “We aim to add women’s wrestling to the Grapple At the Garden event, which is held on the biggest stage in the world. We will work to get women’s wrestling included in more premier events in the future.”