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|CPOW Weekly Update for May 6, 2013|
SUMMARY: World Wrestling Month kicks off in May… USA Wrestling announces four international events for World Wrestling Month… FILA invites international media to Extraordinary Congress in Moscow, May 18… FILA launches new advertising campaign, "To wrestle is to be human”… Wrestling leads Inside The Rings poll about which sport should be added to 2020 Olympics… More than 821,000 signatures collected supporting Olympic wrestling in Japan… FILA launches athlete rankings and expands coverage of wrestling… Olympic champions Daniel Igali and Carol Huynh of Canada to help present for wrestling at IOC Executive Board meetings… Impressive new website, International Wrestling News, is launched… CPOW to host functions for international diplomats and press in Washington DC and at United Nations in New York... Numerous Olympic and World medalists on lineups at the three USA events during World Wrestling Month… USA Wrestling state associations from Nebraska and Connecticut make donations to CPOW to assist Olympic effort…
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 international and domestic scenes.
International Relations News and Effort
• World Wrestling Month kicked off on May 1. FILA, the international wrestling federation, selected May as an international celebration of the sport and an opportunity to showcase wrestling a part of its effort to retain wrestling on the Olympic program. An initial schedule of 20 international wrestling events hosted by FILA and the wrestling federations of the world was presented, with many other competitions and activities which will be added across the world throughout May.
• The United States has identified four international events that will be part of World Wrestling month: The Curby Cup, a Greco-Roman dual meet competition in LaGrange, Ill. on May 11; the Rumble on the Rails, an event with the USA, Iran and Russia in historic Grand Central Terminal in New York City on May 15; “United 4 Wrestling,” a USA vs. Iran freestyle wrestling dual in Los Angeles, Calif. on May 19 and a youth event, the Junior Greco-Roman World Duals Center in Concord, Calif., May 23-26.
• FILA has announced that it will host will hold an Extraordinary Congress May 18 in Moscow to discuss and make changes in the sport in its effort to keep wrestling in the Olympic Games. Delegates from the 177 national federations will discuss a variety of possible changes including new rules, changes in the organization to include more women in leadership roles and additional athlete involvement in the sport’s governing body. Also under discussion by the world wrestling family will be a decision on the non-Olympic styles associated to FILA. “This will be one of the most important meetings in the history of our sport,” said Acting President Nenad Lalovic. “This will be the time we make our sport better. We are proud of our past, but we’re looking to our future and we will be strong enough to change.” Among the items on the agenda will be the election of Lalovic as president of the organization. If elected, he will fill the term of Raphael Martinetti who resigned in February after the sport was not included on the core sports program recommended by the IOC Executive Board, Feb. 12, 2013. The remainder of that term runs through September, 2014. For the first time in memory, FILA has invited the international press to come to the Congress and report on the decisions reached by the wrestling leadership. This will allow the world to quickly learn the news that comes from this important meeting and see the new FILA in action.
• FILA Acting President Nenad Lalovic announced a new advertising campaign for the sport. The interactive campaign will run in various print and online media outlets around the world, starting on April 30th. FILA's new international ad campaign is entitled "To wrestle is to be human. To struggle. To Overcome. To Triumph." The ads also include this tagline: Strength is the power to change." FILA posted copies of these ads through social media, and almost a half million people went to look at the ads online.
• Inside the Rings, a leading Olympic website, is asking a simple question with an important online poll. Which sport do you think the IOC should vote to include on the Olympic programme for 2020? Wrestling is up against the other seven sports who are seeking provisional Olympic status at the May International Olympic Committee meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia. With votes coming from across the world, wrestling is leading the poll after the first week, with 57.2% of the vote, ahead of squash with 19.4% and karate with 16.5%. This poll will remain posted through the month of May, so those who support wrestling need to continue to vote and share the poll with all of their contacts all month long. To vote, go to the following URL online: http://www.insidethegames.biz/polls/71-which-sport-do-you-think-the-ioc-should-vote-to-include-on-the-olympic-programme-for-2020
• The Society to Preserve Wrestling in the Olympic Games on May 2 delivered petitions with a total of 821,342 signatures to the Japan Wrestling Federation, part of a nationwide campaign drive in Japan which calls for the preservation of wrestling in the Olympic Games. Leaders of the organization expect the total number of signatures gathered from throughout Japan to total around 1 million in another week. The JWF will send the signatures to the international wrestling federation FILA, in hopes that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will hear the voices of these wrestling fans. Many superstar wrestlers in Japan have gone out in the public and helped in local communities collecting the signatures, including three-time Olympic champion Saori Yoshida and Olympic champions Tatsuhiro Yonamitsu and Hitari Obara. “We received the signatures of so many cheerful, willing people, I am filled with gratitude,” said Obara.
• FILA launched its first series of international wrestling rankings on its Facebook page and website this week, starting with Greco-Roman. The rankings are developed by William May, who has been an Olympic wrestling journalist and active in the sport for 40 years. May has lived in the United States, Japan and the Czech Republic, and has served as Sports Information Specialist for wrestling at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman rankings will follow. This is part of a massive increase in the coverage of wrestling provided by FILA through its popular Facebook page and other media outlets, under the direction of FILA Press Officer Bob Condron. FILA dispatched talented writer T.R. Foley to provide coverage of the Asian Championships in India and the African Championships in Chad. A team of coorespondents has been recruited who will provide regular international stories on the sport.
• The Toronto Globe and Mail reported that two Olympic wrestling champions from Canada, Daniel Igali and Carol Huynh, will be among those making the presentation on behalf of FILA and international wrestling to the IOC Executive Board in St. Petersburg, Russia on May 29. Wrestling will be reviewed along with seven other sports for consideration for the one remaining provisional sport slots at the 2020 Olympic Games. Both athletes have compelling international stories. Igali grew up in Nigeria, and came to Canada to pursue his education and wrestling goals, ultimately winning the 2000 Olympic gold medal in men’s freestyle. Huynh also comes from a family of immigrants from Vietnam, and went on to become the first women’s Olympic wrestling champion ever for Canada. “I might be biased, but when I think of the Olympics, I think of track, I think of the marathon, I think of wrestling absolutely. It was part of the Ancient Olympic Games as well as in the very first modern Olympic Games,” said Huynh.
• A new website focusing on all aspects of international wrestling has been launched on May 1, the first day of World Wrestling Month. International Wrestling News has been developed by Amateur Wrestling News, one of the world’s top wrestling magazines and websites based in the United States. The website covers all three Olympic styles of wrestling, on both the Senior and age-group levels. Content includes event coverage, features, videos, photos, results, rankings, forums and more. Less than a week old, International Wrestling News has already established a level of coverage which sets a standard for excellence. Fans can enjoy this new website at: http:// internationalwrestling.org
United States News and Efforts
• CPOW will be hosting two major activities in May to assist in the promotion of Olympic wrestling and make its case for Olympic status to important diplomats, government officials and media from around the world. On May 9, in Washington, D.C., CPOW will host “Transending Borders and Barriers” at the Ronald Reagan Building of the North Tower Rotunda. Guests will include CPOW chair Bill Scherr, Olympic champions Rulon Gardner, Henry Cejudo and Clarissa Chun and two-time Olympian Kerry McCoy, among others. On May 14, at the delegates dining room at the United Nations in New York City, a special United Nationals luncheon will be hosted by CPOW with FILA Acting President Nenad Lalovic among the special guests from wrestling, who will help tell the story. Many of the international wrestling leaders who will be in New York for The Rumble On The Rails will also participate in the UN event.
• USA Wrestling has announced lineups for the international events held in the United States during World Wrestling Month. This series of events will showcase dozens of Olympic and World medalists from a number of nations. The Curby Cup of Greco-Roman in LaGrange, Ill. on May 11 will feature 13 individual Olympians, including Olympic silver medalist Tamas Lorincz of Hungary at 66 kg and Olympic bronze medalists Peter Modos of Hungary at 55 kg, Aleksandr Kazekevic of Lithuania at 74 kg and Mindaugus Mizgaitis of Lithuania at 120 kg. The Rumble on the Rails in New York City on May 15 features nine Olympians, including Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs of the USA at 74 kg and Olympic bronze medalists Ehsan Lashgari of Iran at 84 kg and Komeil Ghasemi of Iran at 120 kg. The United 4 Wrestling dual between the USA and Iran in Los Angeles on May 19 also features nine different Olympics, with Olympic champion Burroughs and Olympic bronze medalists Lashgari and Ghasemi back on the mats, along with Olympic bronze medalist Coleman Scott of the USA at 60 kg. These events will all be a tremendous showcase of Olympic wrestling, to support FILA’s efforts with World Wrestling Month.
• USA Wrestling Nebraska made a donation of $1,000 to CPOW for its efforts to Keep Olympic Wrestling. The funds were raised in part at the Nebraska USA State Folkstyle Championships, in which over 1,200 athletes competed on a number of age levels. This is one of the fastest growing events in their region, with over 300% growth over the last five years.
• USA Wrestling Connecticut board members presented the CPOW with a check for $500 at the Connecticut Freestyle Wrestling Tournament in Danbury. It was the first freestyle tournament of the season for Connecticut, with about 150 wrestlers in elementary, middle and high school in attendance. “Wrestling has been a big part of our lives and we wanted to do our part to save it,” said USA Wrestling Connecticut State Director Sarah Jadach. They are joining a growing number of USA Wrestling state associations making donations and providing support for the Keep Olympic Wrestling effort.
We ask one thing from the wrestling community. Please stay informed and stay involved. You can do this by registering on KeepOlympicWrestling.com. 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.