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|CPOW Weekly Update for March 18, 2013|
By 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.
This week, we review the campaign within the United States, and also note some key activities on the international front.
United States News and Efforts
• The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, one of the world’s most popular television shows, has announced that it will have two Olympic wrestling legends, 2000 Olympic Greco-Roman champion Rulon Gardner and 2008 Olympic freestyle champion Henry Cejudo, as guests on the show on Monday night, March 18. The wrestling heroes will discuss their amazing life stories and how wrestling has changed their lives, and will also talk about USA Wrestling’s campaign to Keep Wrestling In the Olympics. Wrestling fans are encouraged to watch the show, which airs on NBC, and should check their local listings for broadcast time in their area.
• The Keep Wrestling In the Olympics Facebook page developed by USA Wrestling went past 100,000 likes in its first month of existence. The Facebook page has shown amazing growth since it was created just hours after the IOC Executive Committee announced its recommendation that wrestling not be a core sport for the 2020 Olympics. This page has attracted users from all around the world and has become a central location for updates on the Keep Olympic Wrestling movement. It has become a vibrant social media outlet, with photos, videos and stories that tell wrestling’s proud story.
• The Keep Olympic Wrestling effort will have an active presence at the NCAA Div. I National Wrestling Championships in Des Moines, Iowa this coming week. Fans who would like to see top Olympic hopefuls in action can attend a special open practice on Friday, March 22 at 2:15 p.m., when star athletes including Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs will compete in live simulation matches during practice at the NCAA Fan Festival. Materials about the Keep Olympic Wrestling movement will be available at special booths inside Wells Fargo Arena, at the NCAA Fan Festival and at the W.I.N. Memorabilia Show. Fans will also have the opportunity to explain to the IOC on videotape why they believe wrestling should be an Olympic sport and how much wrestling means in their lives. A special CPOW press conference has been scheduled for Friday, March 22.
• The Kentucky House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved by voice vote a bi-partisan resolution introduced by State Representatives Steve Riggs (D) and Brian Linder (R) supporting wrestling as an Olympic sport. Appearing during the vote was Kyle Ruschell, an Olympic freestyle hopeful who grew up in Kentucky, along with USA Wrestling state chairperson Keith Smith. Additional state legislatures are currently reviewing similar resolutions, with many expected to be passed in the upcoming weeks. Resolutions are being written and passed on all levels of government in our nation.
• U.S. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota (D), a former wrestler, has written an editorial supporting wrestling as an Olympic sport, noting the strong Olympic wrestling tradition in Minnesota. Franken was a popular comedian and entertainer prior to running for the Senate.
• The twitter handle, @wrestlingvision, has been launched as the official twitter handle of the Keep Olympic Wrestling movement. Thousands have already signed up and are spreading the news about Olympic wrestling through this very popular social media.
• Membership in the Coalition to Keep Wrestling In the Olympic Games, a coalition of all kinds of groups and organizations, went over 100 organizations this week. All of USA Wrestling’s state associations have joined this group, as well as numerous groups of various sizes which include wrestling clubs and teams, other wrestling organizations, private and non-profit companies and many others. The goal is to sign up thousands of groups for the coalition, which requires only a donation and a contact person willing to help with the effort.
• Banners and fliers about the Keep Olympic Wrestling movement were at major wrestling competitions over the weekend, including the NCAA Div. III Nationals in Iowa and the Dapper Dan Classic in Pennsylvania, as well as large USA Wrestling state competitions in California, New Jersey, Nebraska, Indiana, Iowa and Washington.
• Numerous media reports all over the United States continue on the Olympic wrestling topic. Olympic champion Rulon Gardner has done a national radio tour, talking about the effort on almost 20 different national and regional radio shows. Olympic champion Henry Cejudo has been active in the national press, as well as through numerous Hispanic media outlets. Numerous other wrestling athletes and leaders have been interviewed throughout the week, keeping this topic very active in the general public
International Relations News and Effort
• Acting FILA President Nenad Lalovic met with the European Olympic Committee, and signed an agreement to include wrestling in the first European Games, which is scheduled for Baku, Azerbaijan in 2015. All three Olympic disciplines will be featured in the European Games. This was especially good news for the European Games organizers in Azerbaijan. Azad Rahimov, Minister of Youth and Sport of Azerbaijan said that “wrestling is among our most important national sports and we are sure that the wrestling competitions in Baku will be a major attraction at these Games.”
• Numerous heads of state continue to support wrestling as an Olympic sport. Russian President Vladimir Putin in a public appearance in Moscow, said that “the removal from the Olympic program of traditional forms of sports, which were its basis from the beginning and were in the program of the Olympic Games even in the time of ancient Greece ... is unjustified.” Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmaninedjad, in a recent news report, said that “Wrestling is compatible with the spirit of the Olympics. The sport combines chivalry, power and speed.”
• Carlos Nuzman, the President of Rio 2016, the organization which will host the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has backed keeping wrestling on the program of the 2020 Olympic Games. Nuzman said that “wrestling needs to stay in the Games… it is a sport that connects us with the Ancient Olympic Games so it is part of the history of the Olympics.”
• Voices from around the world continue to call for wrestling continuing on the Olympic program. Daniel Igali, a Nigerian native who won an Olympic gold medal in freestyle wrestling for Canada, talked about the effort to Keep Olympic wrestling in an interview with the Des Moines Register and USA Today. Igali, who now serves in Nigeria’s provincial parliament, explained that wrestling is very important in his West African nation.
We ask one thing from the wrestling community. Please stay informed and stay involved. You can do this by registering on http://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.