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Liborio, Levitetz take USA Grappling leadership roles; USA to host 2009 Grappling Worlds in Florida



Ricardo Liborio of American Top Team works with an athlete at a recent competition. Photo courtesy of American Top Team.

Liborio, Levitetz take new leadership roles with USA Grappling;
USA Wrestling picked to host 2009 Grappling World Championships in Florida in December


USA Wrestling is excited to announce a new alliance to provide leadership for USA Grappling, its national program in the sport of Grappling.

International respected coach Ricardo Liborio of Coconut Creek, Fla. has been named the National Coach for USA Grappling.

"Ricardo Liborio brings credibility to our Grappling program," said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender. "We are confident that we will not only sustain our competitive excellence but will take it to a new level with Ricardo on our team. USA Wrestling is committed to maintaining our dominant position in international Grappling."

Jeff Levitetz of Boca Raton, Fla., USA Wrestling's 2004 Man of the Year, has been named Managing Director of USA Grappling.

"Jeff Levitetz has had a significant impact on the programs at USA Wrestling," said Bender. "Our Grappling program will significantly benefit from his leadership and involvement. We look forward to working with Jeff to build, expand and improve the sport in America."

In addition, FILA, the international wrestling federation, has notified USA Wrestling that it has been selected to host the 2009 World Grappling Championships in the United States.

The 2009 Grappling World Championships will be held at the Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, Dec. 12-13. The No-Gi competition will be held on Dec. 12, with the Gi competition on Dec. 13. The U.S. is the defending World Team champions in both disciplines.

Ricardo Liborio is the co-owner and head instructor for American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla., one of the top Grappling and MMA academies in the world. He was a champion in international Jiu-Jitsu, and has trained numerous champion athletes in Grappling, Jiu-Jitsu, Mixed Martial Arts and other disciplines.

In his new role, Liborio will help develop the national Grappling program. He will serve as the head coach of the 2009 U.S. Grappling World Team. Liborio will organize and conduct the 2009 U.S. Grappling World Team Training camp at the American Top Team facility in Coconut Creek. He will also help coach U.S. Grappling athletes from around the nation as part of the USA Grappling program.

"I am honored to be named the National Coach for USA Grappling," said Liborio. "I understand the responsibility of this position. Our athletes will need to fill in their knowledge in comparison to other countries. Our intention is to get the best athletes to compete under the flag of USA Grappling and to represent our nation at the FILA World Grappling Championships."

As an athlete, Liborio was awarded a Black Belt in 1993 under Master Carlson Gracie. He was a 1996 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World (Mundial) Champion, and was voted the Most Technical Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor in 1996 Mundial. A three-time Brazilian National Champion, he placed second at the Abu Dhabi Submission Tournament in 2000 and third in 1999. Liborio was a Brazilian national champion in judo, and also was a state champion in wrestling in Brazil.

Liborio was a co-founder of Brazilian Top Team, a successful program he directed in Brazil for two years. He moved to the United States in 2001 and along with Dan Lambert, developed American Top Team into a championship program. He was voted NAGA Coach of the Year in 2005 and has been inducted into the NAGA Grappling Hall of Fame. He is the trainer of multiple World Champions and MMA fighters. Among the champion Grapplers he has coached are Ricardo Arona, Marcelo Garcia and Jeff Monson. Liborio is expected to receive his American citizenship later this year.

"Hosting the National Team here for training will allow our athletes to go to the next level," said Liborio. "It will improve the level of technique and training in our nation. Hosting the World Championships will provide a lot of tough competition because it is held in the United States. It will be hard work for our team. We will have more competition than ever before."

Levitetz, a longtime leader within USA Wrestling, has developed an involvement in Grappling through his sons, who train under Liborio. His personal friendship and association with Liborio and American Top Team has developed over time. He has worked with USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender and American Top Team owner Dan Lambert to formulate plans to improve the U.S. program.

Levitetz will be involved in USA Grappling in program development on the National Team level, as well as developing the brand for the sport. He will also serve as a spokesman for USA Grappling. He is excited about USA Grappling and its potential for growth and success.

"We start with the best coach we could ever hope for," said Levitetz. "We are both very excited to work together. I will act as a liaison between Ricardo Liborio and USA Wrestling to help identify where the USA Grappling program is headed. The alliance between USA Grappling and American Top Team is very exciting. We welcome the prospects of what this can become. We are interested in exploring all possibilities for Grappling in the United States."

Levitetz served as Team Leader of the U.S. Olympic Team for Greco-Roman wrestling at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. He was a team leader for other U.S. international teams, including the 2003 Senior Greco-Roman World Team, the 2003 Pan American Games Greco-Roman Team, the 2002 Senior Freestyle World Team and the 1999 Senior Freestyle World Team.

He served as Co-Chairperson of the successful "Wrestling for the Next Millennium" capital campaign, which benefited USA Wrestling, the National Wrestling Coaches Association and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. Levitetz developed The Levitetz Family Memorial Fund, which provides scholarships for worthy athletes to attend summer wrestling camps they would not have otherwise been able to afford.

Levitetz is the Chairman of the Board of Purity Wholesale Grocers, Inc. of Boca Raton, Fla. His company has been listed among Forbes top 150 private-owned companies. In 2002, Levitetz was named as an Outstanding American by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, which recognizes former wrestlers for their success in all walks of life.

FILA hosted its first Grappling World Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland in December 2008. The competition features divisions for both men and women in two disciplines, No-Gi Grappling and Gi-Grappling. The United States won the team title in both disciplines at the 2008 Grappling World Championships.

The last time that USA Wrestling hosted a World Championships event in the United States was in 2003, when the Freestyle World Championships were hosted in Madison Square Garden in New York City.
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