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Pols join fight to save wrestling as Olympic sport

| Friday, March 22, 2013, 8:12 p.m.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Wrestling has brought together a group as unlikely to find common ground as Americans and Iranians: Republicans and Democrats.

All have become involved in trying to preserve wrestling as an Olympics sport since the International Olympic Committee recommended it be dropped after 2016. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) arrived at Wells Fargo Arena with a letter signed by Speaker of the House John Boehner and other Congressional leaders in support of wrestling.

“This is one of those issues where party lines aren't a problem,” Jordan, a former two-time NCAA champion, said Friday at news conference held by the Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling. “We're working together to protect this sport and make sure it stays an Olympic sport. People around the world know how special this sport is.”

Bipartisanship support and worldwide unity has American leaders of the sport confident that wrestling will remain in the Olympics beyond 2016. A final IOC vote on wrestling fate won't be taken until September.

“We've got to do the right thing,” said former legendary Iowa wrestler and coach Dan Gable, “and the right thing is to give people what they deserve.”

Jordan Burroughs said when he wrestled in a freestyle World Cup event in Iran in February he saw signs that said “Save Olympics wrestling” in English and Farsi, the predominant language in Iran.

“We've formed a camaraderie,” said Burroughs, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist. “Even though we're opponents on the mat, we've just definitely established a brotherhood, and we're going to try and reverse the decision the IOC has made.”

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