Heroes of USA Wrestling have touched the lives of many Americans, including this swimmer, who until the Olympics didn't know a thing about the sport. This goes beyond true textbook history and cuts straight to the emotional, motivational and moving Olympic moments in history. I went to watching wrestling at my first Games, as a spectator in 1984, and I LOVED IT! And that's when I realized wrestlers have captivated our hearts forever. Remember Jeff Blatnick? He made the team in 1980 when we boycotted, but had the drive and passion to overcome cancer and come back and make the team again four years later at the 1984 Summer Olympics, where he won a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling! He moved us. And what about Bruce Baumgartner who was making four Olympic teams before it was fashionable. Bruce hauled in two golds, a silver and a bronze from 84-96! Inspiration!
And the fella who accomplished the “impossible” or so people thought! I am sure you remember that moment in 2000 at the Sydney Games when Rulon Gardner defeated Alexander Karelin of Russia, who had been undefeated for 13 years. We cried with him because we knew the weight of that moment…one of the greatest moments in Olympic History.
Back to the facts. The U.S. has the most wrestling medals of any country, but over 200 nations participate in the sport and a variety of nations medal each Games. This decision by the International Olympic Committee Executive Board. to recommend that wrestling not be included as a core sport at the 2020 Olympic Committee is not a final decision. The next step is for the IOC Executive Board to recommend a sport for the final spot in the 2020 Olympics, of which wrestling will be considered for the position along with seven other sports, which happens in May in St. Petersburg, Russia.
In the U.S., there are kids out there who show up at their high school, club, or college gym every day -- most twice a day -- with one thing on their minds: to be the next Jeff, Bruce or Rulan. If you have been inspired by an Olympic wrestling moment, the IOC needs to hear it. Save wrestling and keep the dream alive! Join “Keep Wrestling In the Olympics” Facebook page, which is can be found at Keep Wrestling in the Olympics Facebook Page and help support USA Wrestling and Olympic Wrestling.