Sunday, April 7, 2013

Olympic Wrestling must stay. We have 2 Olympic hopefuls in Eugene!

The Committee for the Preservation of
Olympic Wrestling

The Battle We Must WIN: Our Call to Engage the Wrestling Community

             All of you, no doubt, know the global wrestlingcommunity was shocked to learn of the I.O.C. Executive Committee's decision to remove wrestling as a core Olympic sport starting with the 2020 Games.  USAWrestling has been deeply involved in leading the effort to ensure that our voice is heard.  Starting with the change of leadership at F.I.L.A., American wrestling has been a leading force for necessary change in our sport as well as establishing a clear path forward in the international sport and wrestling community with a goal of returning wrestlingas an Olympic sport for 2020 and beyond.
            This mission is a calling that every American influenced by the sport of wrestling should and deserves to have their fingerprint on.  This is a fight for a sport that has been important to defining who many of us are.  Whether a World Champion or a grade school warrior, we are bonded by our respect for each other and our shared principles. These roots run deep in all of us.  We were born to bewrestlers and our Champions were born to win.
In a world of sports idols where it seems that a fall from grace in sports is common fuel for gossip, we would be hard pressed to find greater character role models than many of our Olympic and World Champions - the Peterson brothers, the Banach brothers, Gable, Wells, Baumgartner, Smith, Monday, Brands, Fraser, Kemp, Dziedzic, Schultz, Blatnick, Byers, Gardner, Angle, Weaver - these champions have represented our sport and themselves with honor OFF the mat in ways that transcend their wrestling champion status.  Why?  Because they have values that wrestling has imbedded in their character.  Now is the time for all of us --Wrestling has been invaluable in forming our character, our skills and influencing our lives.  Many of us have dreamed of being an Olympian, dreamed of Gold medals.  But our dreams were formed in part by the generational champions each of us looked up to.   Few experience Olympic Glory... All of us have been influenced by it.
            We owe our future generations the same dream...the same chance at glory.   Our wrestling bonds are generational, and we are all bonded by our love of this most ancient of sports, that, perhaps most profoundly, represents the trials and triumphs of our own lives.  Our common experience cannot be fully comprehended through the use of words - our honor, our struggle, our pain, our sacrifice, and our triumphs are things we must experience.  Neither can these things be bought or sold or given to someone else.  They must be lived.  They can only be earned.
We should be reminded of a man who as a youngwrestler in 1992 completed the J Robinson Intensive Camp. Like many of J's students, this wrestler warrior coveted his "I DID IT" shirt. Last week our warrior brother entered a hospice as he battled his last days with cancer. What did he ask for?  He asked to be sent a replacement for his much loved shirt so he could wear it in his last days. Who is this man?  A son, a father... a wrestler

This is our time.

Yours in Wrestling,