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California Senate passes resolution supporting wrestling as an Olympic sport

California Senators and members of the California wrestling community stand united on the South Steps of the State Capitol Building in Sacramento on Monday

The California Senate passed a resolution supporting wrestling as an Olympic sport on Monday, April 8 in Sacramento.

State Senator Lou Correa (D – Santa Ana) and a coalition of bi-partisan lawmakers presented Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 26, a measure that would urge the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reverse its decision to eliminate wrestling as an Olympic sport. This resolution was passed by a unanimous 37-0 vote.

As part of the activities surrounding the resolution, a press conference was held with numerous members of the California wrestling community.

Included in the festivities was California native Stephen Abas, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling and a three-time NCAA champion for Fresno State. Also there to represent California wrestling were high school wrestlers Marina and Regina Doi, twin sisters who have represented the United States at the Cadet World Championships and are top Olympic hopefuls in women’s freestyle wrestling. Don Martinez, a member of California USA Wrestling Board, was also part of the wrestling delegation.

California has the most high school wrestlers of any state in the nation, with 27,596 high school boys wrestling and 2,008 girls wrestling in the 2011-12 year. California USA Wrestling is one of the leading state associations in the nation, with just shy of 17,000 members last year and a complete program of events and opportunities for wrestlers of all levels in the state.

California has produced numerous Olympic wrestling medalists, including Olympic champions Dave Schultz, Mark Schultz and Jake Varner, Olympic silver medalists Stephen Abas, Jamill Kelly, Townsend Saunders and Greg Gibson, Olympic bronze medalists Patricia Miranda and Adam Wheeler plus numerous World champions and medalists in all three styles.

California is also active in college wrestling, with NCAA Div. I college programs Cal-State Bakersfield, Cal Poly and Stanford, NCAA Div. II programs San Francisco State and California Baptist, NAIA program Menlo College, 20 Junior college programs and a women’s varsity at Menlo College.

California is considered one of the nation’s strongest wrestling states, with the quality and popularity of the annual CIF State Wrestling Championships at the highest level. California is a leader in the development of women’s wrestling.

California joins a growing number of states which have passed similar resolutions supporting Olympic wrestling.

Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 26
Introduced by Senator Correa
(Principal coauthors: Assembly Members Alejo and V. Manuel Pérez)
March 14, 2013

WHEREAS, The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board recently announced that wrestling will be removed from the list of 25 core sports at the 2020 Olympic Games, though this is not final; and

WHEREAS, The IOC Executive Board will meet in May 2013 in St. Petersburg, Russia, to decide which sport or sports to propose for inclusion, and the entire IOC will vote on the final program at the IOC session, or general assembly, in September 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina; and

WHEREAS, Wrestling was one of the original sports in the ancient Olympic Games in Greece. During the ancient Olympic Games, beginning in 708 B.C., wrestling was the decisive discipline of the Pentathlon. It was the last discipline of the games to be held, after the discus, the javelin, the long jump, and the footrace, and its winner was designated the winner of the Pentathlon, the only crowned athlete of the games; and

WHEREAS, Wrestling is one of the most diverse sports in the world, with nearly 200 nations from all continents participating in the sport; and

WHEREAS, Wrestling is an inclusive sport that provides opportunities worldwide, regardless of geography, race, gender, or physical characteristics, and provides mainstream opportunities to athletes of all physical builds and body sizes, including the blind, deaf, and physically handicapped student athletes who may not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in athletics; and

WHEREAS, Wrestling builds great strength, not only of body, but also of character, including the virtues of self-confidence, self-discipline, courage, and leadership, and wrestling is recognized for serving communities throughout the nation by partnering with law enforcement, schools, and churches to provide programs to prevent and neutralize juvenile delinquency, especially gang-related crimes for many at-risk youth; and

WHEREAS, Wrestling has produced many outstanding national leaders, including Presidents of the United States, justices of United States Supreme Court, members of the United States Congress, and business and military leaders, and many outstanding leaders in California, including many Olympic champions, such as Olympic gold medalists Dave and Mark Schultz and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner; and

WHEREAS, More than 70 countries competed in wrestling in London at the 2012 Olympic Games with more Olympic medals awarded to a greater variety of nations than in almost any other sport; and

WHEREAS, California is a leading state in athlete membership for USA Wrestling and the state with the largest participation in high school wrestling; and

WHEREAS, Wrestling has become a pathway to higher education for many young Californians, in particular, those with a socioeconomically challenged background; and

WHEREAS, Many of these young Californians dream of representing the United States on the international stage at the Olympic Games; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, the Assembly thereof concurring, That the California Legislature urges the International Olympic Committee to continue to include wrestling as a core sport of the Olympic Games; and be it further Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.
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