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Continued from page 7 A concept was developed to host an


event in Greece during the summer, but instead of creating a special new competi- tion like was done in New York, Los Angeles and Niagara Falls during World Wrestling Month in May, the decision was made to expand and promote an existing event on the FILA schedule, hosted by the Greek Wrestling Federation. The United States and Russia made a commitment to send teams to compete in the event, and FILA agreed to help pro- mote the competition. USA Wrestling made a commitment to send one of its national staff members, Harris Kalofonos, to Greece to work on the project for a number of weeks. Kalofonos, who is Greek, was a key leader in working with the Greek government and the Greek Olympic Committee, to receive permission to host the event at the site of the ancient Olympic Games. No sport had previously had permission to conduct a competition in this historic setting. With international media in attendance,


a wrestling exhibition was held at the Palestra, the ancient Olympic wrestling grounds. Included was an exhibition between two young girls, the first women ever to wrestle in this historic location. They were all the first wrestlers to com-


pete in the area since the end of the Ancient Olympic Games era in 393 AD. Videos and photos of the exhibition were distributed through the media worldwide, displaying wrestling at the heart of the Olympic movement. The preliminary rounds of the tourna-


ment were held in an indoor sports arena, but the finals were held outside at the International Olympic Academy in Olympia. The competition was webcast live on FILA’s Facebook page for the world to enjoy. "It is important for young wrestlers to


know the rich history of the sport; that wrestling was one of the original Olympic sports from ancient times; and that this was its birthplace. These youth, and many more like them around the world, dream of wrestling in the Olympic Games and we are doing everything we can to ensure they have that opportunity," said FILA President Lalovic. The U.S. won three gold medals in Olympia, with women’s star Alyssa Lampe and Greco-Roman wrestlers Ellis Coleman and Geordan Speiller. Another major milestone during Phase


II was the announcement by the International Olympic Committee Executive Board that it had accepted the proposal by wrestling to add two more weight classes for women at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


36 USA Wrestler36 USA Wrestler


The structure for the Rio Games was changed to include six weight classes in men’s freestyle, six weight classes in Greco-Roman and six weight classes in women’s freestyle. This was known as the 6-6-6 proposal. The two disciplines for men would drop from seven to six weights, and women’s freestyle would increase from four to six weights. This move by FILA was very well received by the IOC as an example of wrestling’s com- mitment to its women’s program. Another focus in Phase II was the pro-


motion of the two age-group World Championships hosted by FILA in August, the FILA Junior World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, and the FILA Cadet World Championships in Zrenjanin, Serbia. FILA Juniors are athletes 17-20 years old, and FILA Cadets are wrestlers 15-17 years old. These are the athletes who are con- sidered contenders for the 2020 Olympic Games. These are the athletes who the Keep Olympic Wrestling movement was working so hard to save their Olympic dream. FILA provided a live webcast from both


the Junior World Championships and the Cadet World Championships, and created a full media promotion from the event. Under the direction of FILA Press Officer Bob Condron, a news service was staffed bringing daily updates which were distrib- uted by press release, on the FILA web- site, and through FILA’s social media. The United States had a pair of World Champions on the age-group level this summer, Kyle Snyder of Maryland at the FILA Junior level and Aaron Pico of California at the FILA Cadet level. CPOW also made an investment in


helping better publicize and conduct major events in the United States during the summer. With support and leadership from CPOW, the U.S. World Team Trials in Stillwater, Okla. in June, was broadcast on NBC’s Universal Sports Network. Financial support continued right up


until the final week before the vote. USA Wrestling was able to announce three major donations which came from special fundraising events that week. Giving $25,000 were Team Georgia, which is USA Wrestling’s state association in Georgia, as well as the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. An additional $20,000 was donated by the U.S. Wrestling Foundation. With wrestling retaining its Olympic sta-


tus, there is momentum for a continued effort to build, grow and strengthen wrestling in the U.S. and around the world. This is expected to be the most positive legacy of all of the hard work and effort put forward by the Keep Olympic Wrestling movement all year.


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