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Letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge from seven U.S. Congressmen supporting wrestling



CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES
Washington, D.C., 20515


March 21, 2013

Dr. Jacques Rogge
President
International Olympic Committee
Chateau de Vidy
Case Postale 356
1001 Lausanne
Switzerland

Dear President Rogge:

We write to express our disappointment with the recent move by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that endangers the inclusion of wrestling as an Olympic sport in the 2020 Olympic Games. We strongly encourage the IOC to reconsider this choice and vote to continue the conclusion of the sport.

Wrestling’s inclusion in the Olympics dates back to 708 BC. The sport was also a part of the first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896. Dropping it from the Olympic lineup would be a blow to the tradition of these games and a disappointment to participants and fans throughout the world.

Americans love the sport of wrestling and rank among the world’s most successful contenders with 50 Olympic golds and 125 total medals in the sport. Amateur wrestling is one of the core sports in high schools and colleges across our country. In American high schools, nearly 300,000 young men and women participate in wrestling. Seventy-nine Division I colleges have wrestling programs. This month, nearly 700 wrestlers from almost 200 universities will compete in the NCAA Wrestling Championships, fighting to be the best in the nation. American wrestling legend Dan Gable once said, “Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They are made of sweat, determination and a hard –to-find alloy called guts.” This is the attitude that drives young wrestlers to succeed not only in sport, but in life. If the IOC maintains its decision to remove wrestling from the Olympics, the dream of many of these youngsters to compete at a higher level will die.

While American passion about the sport tops the list, the IOC’s preliminary vote has prompted outcries far beyond the United States. The majority of the world competes at wrestling at a global level, with 177 national federations for the sport. In the 2012 games, 344 wrestlers competed and 29 countries produced medalists in wrestling. Should this decision stand, medalists from past Olympics are actually threatening to return their medals.

The Olympic Games are the embodiment of tradition, the culmination of childhood dreams and the hard work and dedication of athletes to reach the pinnacle of their sport. We believe strongly that wrestling exemplifies the best of these qualities in athletics. For these reasons, we urge you to reconsider the preliminary decision on wrestling and maintain it as an Olympic tradition.

Sincerely,

John A. Boehner
Speaker of the House

Eric Cantor
House Majority Leader

Kevin McCarthy
House Majority Whip

Jim Jordan
Member of Congress

David Loebsack
Member of Congress

Timothy J. Walz
Member of Congress

Steve King
Member of Congress
Untitled Document
   
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