Bipartisan Group of Senators Urge Reversal of International Olympic Committee Recommendation to Eliminate Wrestling from the Olympic Games Beginning in 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate passed legislation urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reverse its decision to eliminate wrestling from the Olympic Games beginning in 2020.
The bipartisan resolution, introduced by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D OH), cleared the Senate late last week. The resolution was cosponsored by Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Al Franken (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), James Inhofe (R-OK), Carl Levin (D-MI), Lisa Murkowski(R-AK), and Roy Blunt (R-MO). Fellow Ohioan, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (OH 04), also introduced a companion resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“The call for wrestling to remain in the Olympics is growing increasingly louder,” Brown said. “With mounting support, I’m hopeful that the International Olympic Committee will reverse its decision to eliminate wrestling from the Olympics. The sport has meant so much to so many Ohioans—teaching discipline, strength, and a fierce competitiveness both in athletics and in life.”
The IOC Executive Board’s vote, announced last month, is a preliminary recommendation. The final decision will be made in September 2013 when the entire IOC votes on the final program.
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.
Last week, Brown joined former Olympians and future Olympic hopefuls at the Ohio Regional Training Center (RTC) to extend his support. 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. Ohio also has more than 11,000 high school wrestlers and four NCAA Division 1 wrestling programs in the state.
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.