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CPOW Weekly Update for April 8, 2013

Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling

SUMMARY: FILA announces that May is World Wrestling Month… CPOW names Wes Battle Chief of Staff… ISWA, the state association in Indiana, donates $3,307 to the Keep Olympic Wrestling cause… CPOW issues Call to Action for American wrestling community… Mike Rosati hired as USA Wrestling/CPOW Executive Liaison… CPOW chair Bill Scherr issues Shout Out to UFC… CPOW spokesman Mike Novogratz talks wrestling with Lou Dobbs… Coalition grows to 112 groups… FILA continues planning for May presentation to IOC Executive Board… The Greek Athletics Federation supports wrestling in the Olympics… Rich Bender continues coalition building at Pan American Championships… Brewer in England creates a new wrestling beer each month to support Olympic wrestling…

The Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling (CPOW) is 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.

Here are the key news items that developed in the last week on the domestic and international scenes.

United States News and Efforts

• CPOW has named Wes Battle as Chief of Staff and he started his service on CPOW’s professional staff this week in New York City. Battle comes to CPOW from Capitol Hill, where he spent the last year working on House Armed Services Committee issues as Communications Director for Virginia Congressman Randy Forbes. Previously, Battle served 10 years in the United States Navy, flying jets off of aircraft carriers in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and serving in the Pentagon as an International Affairs analyst for the Secretary of the Navy. Battle wrestled for the University of Virginia, and was a top high school wrestler from Pittsburgh, Pa. He will be involved in managing all aspects of CPOW’s daily operations.

• The Indiana State Wrestling Association, USA Wrestling’s state association in Indiana, made a donation of $3,307.30 to CPOW and USA Wrestling to support the effort to Keep Olympic Wrestling during the USA Wrestling Folkstyle National Championships in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The funds were raised from participants at the ISWA Folkstyle State Championships. ISWA state chairperson Louis Rosbottom and members of the Indiana delegation at the event, presented an oversized check to the cause, in a group which included Olympic medalists Sammie Henson and Brandon Paulson and Olympians Melvin Douglas and Jake Herbert. The ISWA issues a challenge to all state associations to match or beat the level of their donation.

• CPOW has issued a Call to Action to engage the wrestling community behind the Keep Olympic Wrestling movement. The statement included this appeal: “Many of us have dreamed of being an Olympian, dreamed of Gold medals. But our dreams were formed in part by the generational champions each of us looked up to. Few experience Olympic Glory; all of us have been influenced by it. We owe our future generations the same dream, the same chance at glory.” CPOW reported that it has raised 50% of the $2 million budget required for the U.S. effort on behalf of Olympic wrestling. Information on how the funds raised will be spent was provided as part of the appeal. CPOW has requested that the entire American wrestling family go to the website to sign up, share information and donate to the cause.

• USA Wrestling has added Mike Rosati to its national staff in the position of USA Wrestling/CPOW Executive Liaison. Rosati, who is from New Jersey, will serve in this capacity through the September IOC meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, when the final decision is made concerning the program of the 2020 Olympics. Rosati will assist USA Wrestling national staff and volunteer leadership in its coordinated efforts with CPOW with the goal of keeping wrestling as core sport in the 2020 Olympic Games. Rosati has served in the U.S. Coast Guard since 2000, working as a Senior Chief Petty Officer, most recently assigned as the Logistics Section Chief in response to Hurricane Sandy for the NY/NJ Region. Rosati wrestled at Rider University where he earned his bachelors and masters degrees and was a Director of Wrestling Operations for Princeton University.

• CPOW chair Bill Scherr published a column entitled “A Shout Out to the UFC!” Scherr explained the close relationship between the wrestling community and the UFC, and noted the many things that wrestling could learn from the UFC in the marketing and promotion of its sport. Scherr noted that “it has become a tremendous source of pride and entertainment for the wrestling community and offers much that wrestling can learn from and emulate. They have also provided a showcase for the great skills wrestling develops and have highlighted many of wrestling’s greatest athletes.” Scherr cited many successes of the UFC, including successful rule changes, improved sport presentation, connection with its fan base and investments in the grassroots levels of its sport. Scherr wrote that “now is the time to examine the sport and make changes like they did in the UFC—not only to demonstrate to the International Olympic Committee that wrestling belongs but to improve the sport for the future.”

• CPOW spokesman Mike Novogratz appeared on national television with Lou Dobbs on FOX. As the leader of Fortress Investment Group, Novogratz talked about the state of the U.S. markets and economy. But Novogratz also talked with Dobbs about the Keep Olympic Wrestling movement. “The IOC is a big organization but has a small Executive Board. They ran a process and did it because they were angry at the international wrestling federation and the guy who ran it. Does it warrant throwing wrestling out of the Olympics? No,” he said. Novogratz also talked about big plans to celebrate World Wrestling Month in New York City as part of the annual Beat the Streets Gala events in May.

• The Coalition to Keep Wrestling In the Olympics gained 10 new members this week, bringing the total of organizations and businesses that support the Keep Olympic Wrestling movement to 112. The Coalition brings together groups and organizations of all kinds together behind the cause in the USA. All it takes to join the Coalition is a contact person willing to assist the effort and a donation to the cause.

International Relations News and Effort

• FILA, the international wrestling federation, has announced that World Wrestling Month will be held this May. The 177 countries that are FILA members will feature activities which promote wrestling and its campaign to remain in the Olympic Games. Events during the month will include international dual meets in cities around the world, sport demonstrations and youth events. Some competitions will feature proposed rule changes to the sport. Each National Federation will announce its own schedule of events in the coming weeks. USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender was quoted in the FILA announcement that the United States has exciting plans for major international competitions in our nation as part of World Wrestling Month.

• FILA, the international wrestling federation, continues its planning for its presentation to the IOC Executive Board in St. Petersburg, Russia, May 29. Wrestling will be among eight sports making presentations, seeking to be on the short list of sports for consideration as a provisional sport for the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games. FILA Bureau member Jim Scherr of the United States, who is also the co-chairman of CPOW, told the Des Moines Register last week, that he would be one of the presenters at the IOC Executive Board meeting, along with three-time Olympic champion and FILA Bureau member Alexander Karelin of Russia. There will be six individuals from wrestling who will be part of this important presentation.

• The Greek Athletics Federation (SEGAS) announced last week that it opposes the IOC Executive Board recommendation to drop wrestling from the Olympic Games after 2016. SEGAS fully supported an official petition from the Greek Wrestling Federation and the University of Thessaly urging the IOC to keep wrestling in the summer Games. Greek Wrestling Federation president Kostas Thanos has condemned the decision as a "sacrilege" of a sport which was practiced in the ancient Olympics. The ancient Olympics were held in Greece, and the first modern Olympic Games was held in Greece in 1896. Most recently, Greece hosted the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

• USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender made presentations to the member nations of CPLA, the Pan American Wrestling Association, during meetings alongside the Pan American Wrestling Championships in Panama City, Panama. He updated the Pan American wrestling leaders on 2020 Vision, the marketing and public relations campaign launched by USA Wrestling to support the Keep Olympic Wrestling effort, as well as FILA’s World Wrestling Month project set for May. Bender also expanded the coalition of national wrestling federations which is forming to support FILA’s efforts in convincing the IOC to retain wrestling as an Olympic sport. Bender has also been to Iran and Georgia for major wrestling competitions to work on the international coalition.

• The Bank Top Brewery in Bolton, England will be creating an original beer each month this year, recognizing a wrestling move, in support of the Keep Olympic Wrestling effort. The new brews will be called Grappling, Bear Hug, Chancery, Back Bridge and Nelson in recognition of different techniques in international wrestling. The head brewer, Dave Sweeney, is a former wrestler, and will be donating proceeds from the sale of the new beers to the Sharples Wrestling Club in their community. “The fair play grounding that the sport gives you is essential for any level of educational and sporting ability. The sport keeps you well grounded and level headed. Everybody in the sport has such respect for each other,” said Sweeney.

We ask one thing from the wrestling community. Please stay informed and stay involved. You can do this by registering on 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.

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