The IOC is considering dropping wrestling–apparently both Greco-Roman and Freestyle. For a long time, Paul Wellstone and Jim Leach, a truly moderate Republican from Iowa who is now the head of the National Endowment for the Humanities, sponsored a bill to increase the number of scholarships available for wrestling as it was hit hard by Title IX. Both were adamant supporters of Title IX, but also wanted to see wrestling flourish. Iowa is one of the biggest wrestling states along with Nebraska and Leach had the University of Iowa in his District some of the time. Wellstone had wrestled when younger and is even inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
So when I urge my readers to speak up on this, at least do it in honor of Paul Wellstone and his love of the sport. Three current members of Congress, including David Loebsack my college adviser who replaced Leach in Congress, have introduced a resolution condemning the move and Sherrod Brown will introduce a similar resolution in the Senate
Loebsack on the decision:
“The decision by the International Olympic Committee to drop wresting is baffling. The history of collegiate and Olympic wrestling runs through Iowa. From Dan Gable and Tom Brands to Cael Sanderson and Jake Varner, Iowa has represented the sport with determination and the hard work it takes to succeed in life and sport. I will continue to work with my colleagues to change this ruling on behalf of Iowa’s, and America’s, storied wrestling history,” said Congressman Dave Loebsack.
A petition calling on the White House to pressure the IOC to change the decision needs about 50,000 more signatures by March 14. So go do it for Paul.