Following the International Olympic Committee (IOC) vote this week to eliminate wrestling from the Olympic Games, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Al Franken (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced a Senate resolution to oppose and urge the IOC to reverse the decision. There are more than 11,000 high school wrestlers in Ohio and four NCAA Division 1 wrestling programs in the state. Akron native Justin Lester represented the United States in the 2012 Olympics. U.S. Reps. Dave Loebsack (IA-02), Jim Jordan (OH-04) and Tim Walz (MN-01) introduced a companion resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives today.
"Wrestling is a historical heavyweight among Olympic sports, and has a proud tradition in my state of Ohio," Brown said. "From youth wrestling camps and high school meets to NCAA tournaments--athletes in Ohio have learned the strength, discipline, and focus that allow grapplers to succeed both on the mat and in life. This sport is accessible to everyone around the world, regardless of their financial circumstances. The IOC should not ratify this preliminary decision by its executive board."
"Wrestling has a long and proud tradition in Pennsylvania and in the Olympics," Senator Casey said. "I'm hopeful the International Olympic Committee will reverse course and bring back this event to the 2020 games."
Wrestling is one of the original sports in the ancient Olympic Games in Greece and was also included in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. The U.S. Olympic wrestling teams--including freestyle and Greco-Roman--are our nation's third-most successful Summer Games sport, amassing more than 120 medals.
The IOC Executive Board's vote announced on Tuesday is a preliminary recommendation. The final decision will be made in September 2013 when the entire IOC votes on the final program.
Full text of the resolution is below.
Opposing the International Olympic Committee's decision to eliminate wrestling from the
Summer Olympic Games beginning in 2020.
Whereas wrestling is recognized as one of the world's oldest competitive sports dating back to 3000 BC;
Whereas wrestling was one of the original sports of the ancient Greek Olympic Games and of the first modern Olympic Games;
Whereas wrestling is one of the world's most diverse sports, with participants from almost 200 countries around the world;
Whereas over 280,000 high school students in the United States participated in wrestling in 2012;
Whereas there are over 300 intercollegiate wrestling programs in the United States;
Whereas wrestling represents the determination and hard work it takes to succeed in life and sport;
Whereas the United States has a long, proud, and storied Olympic wrestling history; and
Whereas wrestling epitomizes the spirit of the Olympic Games: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate--
(1) opposes the recommendation of the International Olympic Committee Executive Board to eliminate wrestling from the Summer Olympic Games beginning in 2020;
(2) thanks the United States Olympic Committee for its continued support of wrestling and encourages them to work actively to reverse this decision; and
(3) urges the International Olympic Committee to reinstate wrestling as a core sport of the Summer Olympic Games.