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|CPOW Weekly Update for March 11, 2013|
By The Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling
The Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling (CPOW) will be 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.
Last week, we covered the first 20 days of this work. Starting this week, we will give information on the week which has just finished, with a look at what to expect in the week ahead.
International Relations News and Effort
• It has been a big week of activity on the international level, as the new leadership of the international wrestling federation FILA had some key events which will have impact on the direction of the campaign to preserve Olympic wrestling. We will review some of the worldwide news, with information on the U.S. participation in these activities.
• The most important meeting of the week occurred on Thursday, March 7, when Acting FILA President Nenad Lalovic of Serbia met with IOC President Jacques Rogge about wrestling and its opportunities within the Olympic movement. The meeting was covered extensively in the international press, and photos of the FILA President and the IOC President were shown worldwide. FILA issued a statement about the meeting which President Lalovic said “the meeting was very cordial and helpful. Our objective was to listen and learn from the discussion with President Rogge and I am very pleased with the result.” Lalovic also mentioned that “FILA has already begun a number of innovative initiatives to modernize the governance, presentation and promotion of our sport.”
• Input from the United States was a key part of the week of activities at FILA headquarters. FILA Vice President Stan Dziedzic, who was named as Lalovic’s assistant within FILA, was there for the entire week with President Lalovic to participate in the preparation for the meeting with the IOC President. Dziedzic also attended a series of meetings at both the IOC headquarters and the FILA headquarters which will be important in developing the international strategy for our sport.
• Through the efforts of USA Wrestling and with support from CPOW, FILA has enlisted Bob Condron of the United States to help manage its public relations and communications activities. Condron worked more than 30 years as a public relations executive for the U.S. Olympic Committee and also served many years on the IOC Press Commission. He was there all week with Lalovic and Dziedzic, and will remain another week working on other projects with FILA. He is expected to be a leader in FILA’s efforts over the next few months. While in Switzerland, Condron set up a successful press conference in FILA headquarters, organized meetings with key IOC personnel, and helped formulate FILA’s media strategy moving forward.
• FILA has engaged one of the world’s most successful strategy firms which specializes in the Olympic movement. This firm will work on wrestling’s behalf helping set the strategy and execute the game plan at the important meetings and opportunities over the next few months. Of utmost importance are IOC meetings in May in St. Petersburg, Russia, and in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the IOC will make the final decisions regarding the program for the 2020 Olympic Games. CPOW will be making a financial investment, along with FILA and the Russian Wrestling Federation, to secure the firm's services, and will have active input in the development of the international strategy.
• FILA announced that there will be an Extraordinary Congress in Moscow, Russia on May 18, where all of the 177 international wrestling federations around the world will meet. During the meetings, the national wrestling federations will elect a new President which will serve through 2014. Acting President Lalovic will run for President at this meeting, with the full support of USA Wrestling and other important wrestling nations. During the meeting, FILA will also discuss getting more athlete involvement in FILA Commissions, and the rules of the sport will be reviewed and improved.
• FILA, along with three-time Olympic champion and new FILA Bureau member Alexander Karelin of Russia, has urged Olympic wrestlers around the world NOT to send their medals in to the IOC in protest.
• On Tuesday, March 5, the head of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), Sheik Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah of Kuwait, said that wrestling has the unanimous support of his Executive Council. He says he'll take up the issue with the International Olympic Committee and will work with FILA to assist their efforts to retain Olympic wrestling. Al Sabah said “we are very keen to maintain wrestling in the sport program.”
United States News and Efforts
• On Monday, May 5, Iowa governor Terry E. Branstad released a letter, co-signed by a bipartisan group of 33 governors, calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to keep wrestling as an Olympic sport.
• A new campaign entitled 2020 Vision, was launched inspire the American wrestling community to support the effort to retain wrestling in the Olympic Games. Created by the marketing team for CPOW, the campaign’s main slogan is “Wrestling: Keep the Dream Alive.” The first marketing materials for this campaign were distributed at major wrestling events across the nation this past weekend. A banner with Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs, along with PA announcements and literature for fans, were included at a dozen major events around the nation, including the EIWA Championships, the Big 12 Championships, the ACC Championships, the Big Ten Championships, the CAA Championships, the NCAA Western Regionals, the IKWF state championships and other events. The wrestling community can expect to see these materials at wrestling events and other activities over the next few months. Advertisements for the 2020 Vision 2020 will appear in key media outlets, including the NCAA event program, W.I.N. Magazine and others, with commercials appearing on FOX College Sports broadcasts of the NWCA National Duals and others.
• A committee of U.S. wrestling leaders, led by CPOW Chairman Bill Scherr and wrestling legend Dan Gable, will work on the American recommendations for changes in the international wrestling rules. Acting FILA president Lalovic has indicated that this will be an important focus of its FILA Congress meeting in Russia in May. USA Wrestling National Coaches Zeke Jones, Steve Fraser and Terry Steiner have formed subcommittees within their style to also work on this important issue. The objectives of this committee include these key points: 1) simple for spectators; 2) increases action 3) rewards risk-taking; 4) allows no bias into officiating; 5) allows the best athlete to win; 6) is exciting for television viewing.
• Resolutions supporting Olympic wrestling are currently being considered in the U.S. House and Senate in Washington, D.C, and similar resolutions are being considered in state legislatures across the nation. As part of this project, Olympic wrestling hopefuls and legends will be on hand when these government groups vote on the wrestling resolutions. One of the first products of this project is scheduled for this Monday, when the Kentucky legislature will vote on an Olympic wrestling resolution. Kyle Ruschell, an Olympic freestyle hopeful who grew up in Kentucky, will be on hand along with other wrestling leaders from USA Wrestling in Kentucky, for this important vote.
• MMA legends Randy Couture and Frank Trigg were special guests of USA Wrestling president Jim Ravannack at an NBA game featuring the New Orleans Hornets and the Los Angeles Lakers. Wearing Keep Wrestling In the Olympic shirts, these MMA stars who were also talented international wrestlers, were on the floor of the arena and met with fans and media in support of Olympic wrestling
• A large variety of media reports on the effort to preserve Olympic wrestling appeared across the United States and around the world. This included efforts of the CPOW public relations team, which includes USA Wrestling staff, and professionals from public relations firms Ketchum and KOM who are part of the effort.
• It was established that 10,267 news articles in 2,339 outlets from 74 countries have been published since the IOC Executive Board announcement. Many of the most recent reports included U.S. international wrestlers who competed in the Freestyle and Women’s World Cup and other events around the world. Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs was featured in a major story by the Associated Press, which appeared in publications worldwide, and was also featured in numerous outlets in his home town area. Olympic champion Jake Varner and Olympic medalist Coleman Scott were also featured in numerous stories. Olympic wrestling legend and CPOW member Rulon Gardner was part of a national radio tour programs, talking about the Olympic wrestling issue in key markets nationally. 2008 Olympic champion Henry Cejudo is also featured in numerous media reports. CPOW leaders Mike Novogratz, Dan Gable and Jim Scherr have also had key media placements.
• Progress has been made on expansion of the internet and social media programs affiliated with the Keep Wrestling In the Olympics program.
• The Coalition to Keep Wrestling In the Olympic Games, a coalition of all kinds of groups and organizations, continues to grow, with almost 40 groups who have joined by the end of the week. To get involved, a group only needs to provide a contact person willing to help the effort and make a donation to the cause.
We ask one thing from the wrestling community. Please stay informed and stay involved. You can do this by registering on www.KeepWrestlingintheOlympics.com. 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.