COLUMBUS, OH – One month after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to eliminate wrestling from the Olympic Games, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined former Olympians and future Olympic hopefuls in urging the IOC to keep wrestling in the Olympics. At the Ohio Regional Training Center (RTC) today, Brown joined J.D. Bergman, a former Ohio State University wrestler who is training for the 2016 Olympic Games, and Lou Rosselli, a former Olympian, RTC head coach, and assistant OSU men’s wrestling coach.
“Wrestling is more than just a sport—it teaches strength and discipline, both on the mat and in life,” Brown said. “It’s hard to think of a sport better suited to the Olympics than wrestling. Wrestlers come from around the world – countries large and small, developed and developing. Unlike so many other Olympic sports, all an athlete needs to bring to the sport is some sweats, a singlet, and a large reservoir of resolve.”
Currently, there are six wrestlers training at the RTC for the 2016 Olympic Games games that will take place in Brazil. In 2012, five athletes that trained at RTC held spots on the 21-man United States National Team.
“Obviously, we are extremely disappointed in the IOC executive committee’s decision to drop wrestling from the Olympic program after the 2016 Rio Games,” Coach Roselli said. “However, we are confident that the world can show the importance of wrestling to the Olympic Games. Wrestling has one of the largest International Federations with nearly 180 Nation members. We had over 70 nations qualify and participate in the Olympic Games. Wrestling is one of the largest sports in the United States and has been a part of cultures since recorded time. The U.S. Government is one of many around the world that is urging the IOC to reconsider the recommendation and keep wrestling as one of the core sports in the Summer Games. We are very grateful to Senator Brown for putting his name behind this initiative and for supporting this very important movement in our sport.”
“The recommendation from the IOC to drop wrestling as a core sport in the Olympics is so unsettling to me. Wrestling has taught me discipline in all areas of my life. The sacrifice and workload needed to be successful are second to none – yet I love it and I am extremely blessed to still be competing on the world stage,” JD Bergman, Member of US World Team, said. “I urge everyone who has a love and passion for wrestling to use their voices during this time to let the IOC know that we are not standing down – that is not in a wrestler’s DNA – we are taught from early on to fight for everything that we earn – and we will fight to earn our way back into the Olympic arena.”
Brown led the bipartisan resolution—expected to pass this week—urging the IOC to reverse its decision to eliminate wrestling from the Olympic Games beginning in 2020. The IOC Executive Board’s vote announced in February is a preliminary recommendation. The final decision will be made in September 2013 when the entire IOC votes on the final program. Fellow Ohioan, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04), also introduced a companion resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives.
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
Full text of the Brown-led 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.