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EXECUTIVE NOTES By Rich Bender, USA Wrestling Executive Director

Thank You for all of your incredible efforts during the Keep Olympic Wrestling campaign this year With incredible gratitude and fond admiration, we wish to

thank our USA Wrestling members and the entire American wrestling community for its amazing effort in the ‘Keep Olympic Wrestling’ movement this year. We have come a long way since February 12, when the IOC Executive Board recommended that wrestling be removed as a core sport from the Olympic Games. This was the biggest chal- lenge our sport had ever faced, and it brought out the best in the wrestling family. USA Wrestling and its Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling (CPOW) quickly stepped up to this challenge. We knew the first order of business was to reach out to our

USA Wrestling family for a collaborative, cohesive, well-planned approach to take action and ‘right’ this wrong. We are so very proud that you responded to the call and rallied on behalf of the sport we all love. We asked for group support, and our USA Wrestling state organizations and chartered clubs banded together behind our effort. We asked for individuals and their families to be part of the team, and you signed on to the cause. When we had a need for financial support, you made donations and held local fundraisers all year long, providing us with the resources neces- sary for victory. In many cases, you were very creative in finding ways to raise funds for the cause. When we asked for your online presence with our social

media campaigns, you came out in record numbers. You liked our Keep Olympic Wrestling Facebook page, and you used our #WrestlingVision Twitter hashtag. When there were online polls about what sport should be in the Olympics, you voted for wrestling and we won every time. When USA Wrestling hosted major events, such as the Rumble on the Rails in New York City, United4Wrestling in Los Angeles, and the Curby Cup in Chicago, you came out to sup- port the competitions in impressive numbers. You attended events, watched the television productions, and logged on to

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live webcasts, as well as other major wrestling tournaments, showing the wide interest of this sport. Clearly, when we asked you to stay informed on what was going on, you were active and engaged for the entire seven months of this jour- ney.

As you are well aware, on Sunday, September 8, the International Olympic Committee elected wrestling as the addi- tional sport for the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games, defeating baseball/softball and squash on the first ballot in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This could not have been possible without the sup- port and involvement of American wrestling. As a wrestling family, we should all take great pride in the success of the Keep Olympic Wrestling campaign, and each of you deserve credit for being part of a winning team. Wrestling is so much better because we faced this challenge and triumphed. We look forward to working with you in the future as we contin- ue to make our sport even stronger and more exciting. Now in many ways the real work begins. FILA and USA

Wrestling has made and promised many changes and improve- ments. We must continue with the same sense of urgency to fol- low through on these improvements. The last seven months have been nothing less than a monu-

mental challenge; however, it is with certainty that we will look back on this as a ‘Bell Weather Event’ that changed the course of our wrestling history. In our next edition of USA Wrestler, and through our website

and media platforms over the next several weeks, we will out- line our many plans to build from the momentum of the victory from the Olympic vote, and help bring wrestling to the next level. For our sport to remain strong, we must be united. We have all learned so much in the past few months that will help us to set higher goals and reach new levels of success. On behalf of our president James Ravannack, our Board of Directors, our state leaders, and our staff at USA Wrestling headquarters in Colorado Springs, thank you for your tireless support of Man’s Oldest and Greatest Sport.

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