Gold medalist Angle says wrestling won't vanish from Olympics
Kurt Angle, one of the most decorated wrestlers in Western Pennsylvania history, is optimistic that wrestling will survive a threat to its standing as an Olympic sport.
An International Olympic Committee recommendation to drop wrestling after 2016 shocked and galvanized the wrestling community. It prompted a shakeup in FILA, the wrestling international federation, and produced unlikely alliances such as one between the United States and Iran.
The two, as well as Russia and Japan, are among the countries in the newly formed Save Olympic Wrestling.
“Thank God we have a president (Nenad Lalovic) that is going to stand up for the sport,” said Angle, who won a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. “He knows what he has to do to bring wrestling back. We have been arrogant and ignorant.”
Wrestling has reorganized its governing structure so it can better market the sport and improve FILA's relationship with the IOC.
The IOC executive committee's recommendation to drop wrestling will be voted on by the general assembly in September.
“Wrestling has received the message, and we'll make the necessary changes to improve our sport and make it a better member of the worldwide Olympic family,” said Jim Scherr, a former head of the United States Olympics Committee who is working to improve wrestling's relationship with the IOC.
Wrestling is one of eight sports that has applied for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics.
“You want to remain in the Olympics so these kids have a goal and a dream,” said Angle, a Mt. Lebanon graduate.
Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @ ScottBrown_Trib.