For Olympic wrestling advocate Stan Dziedzic, relationship building delivered something in addition to potential results — it padded his frequent-flier account.
Dziedzic, an Olympic bronze medalist and world champion, traveled more than 3,200 miles last week to Lima, Peru, to attend the International Olympic Committee's Sports for All World Conference.
The mission of Dziedzic and Jim Scherr, the former chief executive of the U.S. Olympic Committee who accompanied him, was to be seen as much as heard as the sport attempts to regain its footing as a participant in the 2020 and '24 Games.
In addition to being noticed by the estimated 20 IOC members in attendance, the duo wanted to ensure global decision-makers know wrestling is contrite about missteps that led to a February vote to initially remove it from the core Olympic program.
"Wrestling's been tardy, probably overconfident, maybe event arrogant," said Dziedzic, a vice president for FILA, wrestling's international governing body. "We didn't lobby. That wasn't our purpose. We said, 'Look, FILA, under its old leadership, has been derelict.'
"I think I was pleased that we weren't viewed as if we're pressing them. So many of the key people were there — and so we wanted to be there, too, and show that the sport is going to get much more involved in events like this than in the past."
Eight sports groups, including wrestling, are preparing to pitch proposals to become the 26th core participant in 2020 and '24 during a meeting next month in St. Petersburg, Russia.