Olympic wrestling celebration thread

Chris Essig of the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier observed on Sunday, “You might live in Iowa if… Wrestling being retained as an Olympic sport is the lead sports story over the NFL kicking off its season.” True that. You also might live in Iowa if politicians in both parties remind you how hard they worked to get wrestling back into the Olympics. Shortly after the International Olympic Committee’s vote on Sunday to reinstate one of Iowans’ most beloved sports for the 2020 summer Olympics and beyond, celebratory press releases from Representatives Dave Loebsack (D, IA-02) and Bruce Braley (D, IA-01) appeared in my in-box. I’ve posted those after the jump, along with comments Governor Terry Branstad made today at a telephone press conference.

Although I’m not a wrestling fan, I was very happy to hear the IOC corrected their idiotic mistake. You don’t have to follow the sport closely to comprehend that wrestling belongs in the Olympics. Few sports have as much history or connection to the Olympic tradition.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread. I recommend this ESPN feature on Iowa wrestling legend Dan Gable.

P.S.-The Branstad campaign’s “Let’s Keep Wrestling” website was the best list-building exercise I’ve ever seen in Iowa politics. The governor claims that more than 25,000 people supported their efforts.

September 8 press release from Dave Loebsack’s office:

BREAKING NEWS: Loebsack Statement on Reinstatement of Wrestling as a Core Olympic Sport

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to reinstate wrestling as a core Olympic sport for the 2020 games. Loebsack joined Congressmen Jim Jordan (OH-04), and Tim Walz (MN-01) to lead the fight in the House of Representatives to get wrestling back into the Olympics after it was announced earlier this year that it was dropped from the games. Last week, the Congressmen wrote to the President of the IOC, Dr. Jacques Rogge, to call on him to reinstate wrestling.

“Today’s decision is great news for the sport of wrestling, but also for those who have fought so hard to demonstrate what wrestling means to the international community,” said Loebsack. “The history of collegiate and Olympic wrestling runs through Iowa and we know that the determination and the hard work it teaches our kids provides them the skills it takes to succeed in life. I want to especially thank Coach Dan Gable and Coach Terry Brands for their tireless efforts to keep wrestling where it belong in the Olympics.”

September 8 Press release from Bruce Braley’s office (emphasis in original):

Braley Statement on IOC Decision to Keep Wrestling in Olympics

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement today after the International Olympic Committee voted to keep wrestling as an Olympic sport:

“Today’s vote is a huge victory for the thousands of wrestlers, coaches, and fans from across Iowa and the world who fought so hard to reverse the IOC’s misguided effort to drop wrestling from the Olympic Games.

“Wrestling is among the oldest Olympic sports, dating to the games of the ancient Greeks. Iowans are rightfully proud of our state’s long tradition of wrestling excellence, and with today’s vote, the Olympic dream will continue for the next generation of great Iowa wrestlers.

“I’m excited and relieved that wrestling will stay where it belongs: as part of the Olympic program.”

In February, Braley wrote International Olympic Committee President Jacque Rogge to urge the IOC to reconsider its decision to drop wrestling from the summer Olympic Games program. Rogge responded to Braley’s letter later that month.

From a Des Moines Register report on Branstad’s September 8 press conference (conducted by telephone while the governor visits Japan):

Also today the governor said he was thrilled the International Olympic Committee decided to return wrestling to the Olympics program.

“As you know, we’ve been working on this – LetsKeepWrestling.com – we launched that last winter. We’ve gotten a tremendous response: over 25,000 people joined in our efforts. I recruited other governors to join. We had 30-some other governors that wrote to the International Olympic Committee in support of wrestling,” he said.

And Branstad said Tokyo is celebrating its bid to host the Olympics in 2020, a decision that shows confidence in the country’s economic comeback.

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