Branstad and Reynolds join fight to save Olympic wrestling - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Branstad and Reynolds join fight to save Olympic wrestling

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DES MOINES (KWWL) -

Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds are joining Iowa's congressional delegation in sending a letter asking the International Olympic Committee to reverse their decision to eliminate wrestling from the Olympics beginning in 2020.

The IOC announced on Monday the results of a vote that resulted in wrestling being dropped from the list of core sports for the 2020 games.

Since the announcement, supporters have begun a full out campaign to save the sport they love.

The full letter is below:

Dr. Jacques Rogge
President, International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board
Château de Vidy
Case Postale 356
1001 Lausanne
Switzerland

Dear President Rogge:

We write as a group of elected officials from the State of Iowa, a State with a rich wrestling tradition, regarding the recent decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to remove wrestling as an Olympic sport following the 2016 Olympic Games. We strongly urge the IOC to reconsider its position, and vote to ensure wrestling's continued existence in the 2020 summer Olympic Games.

Wrestling harkens back to ancient civilization and the sport's inclusion in the Olympics has only enriched the ongoing Olympic tradition. Early Olympic organizers recognized wrestling's unique and global importance by including the sport in the first modern Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896. Wrestling has been a major part of the Olympics ever since.

The same spirit of competition that drove ancient wrestlers and early modern Olympians has transcended generations, and here in Iowa, we are the beneficiaries of this spirit. It is a sport where self-pride and determination battle and as a result, helps build character. Wrestling does not discriminate by age, gender or economic background.

At its core, wrestling is an instinct and embodies the human qualities of hard work, discipline, and perseverance. Fellow Iowan Dan Gable, an Olympic gold medalist and former US Olympic wrestling coach, best summarized the life foundation that wrestling provides when he stated, "Once you've wrestled, everything else in life is easy."

Iowa is not the sole beneficiary of these traits and wrestling's reach goes well beyond the United States. Forms of wrestling have been important parts of culture in China, Japan, Russia and many other countries. Soviet and Russian wrestlers have won 77 gold medals. Wrestling federations exist in approximately 180 countries and the recent London Olympic Games had wrestlers from 71 countries.

We disagree with the IOC's release statement that: "This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics." Renewing or renovating the Olympics should respect important Olympic traditions. Unfortunately, this IOC decision ignores wrestling's rich Olympic tradition.

We would also encourage a transparent voting system for future votes on which sports should be included as part of the Olympic Games. As public officials, we hold transparency as a sacred principle and we would encourage the International Olympic Committee to abide by that same principle.

We encourage your prompt reconsideration of your decision to exclude wrestling from the Olympics. We hope that wrestling will continue to be an important part of the Olympic tradition.

Sincerely,

Terry E. Branstad,Governor of Iowa
Kim Reynolds, Lt. Governor of Iowa
Charles Grassley, United States Senator
Tom Harkin, United States Senator
Tom Latham, United States Congressman
Steve King, United States Congressman
Bruce Braley, United States Congressman
Dave Loebsack,
United States Congressman

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