Iowa politicians are joining in the celebration of the International Olympic Committee’s reversal on the sport of wrestling. Governor Terry Branstad is on a trade mission in Toyko, the city chosen this weekend to host the 2020 Olympics.
“These two decisions, made in Buenos Aries, are great for Toyko and certainly great for the State of Iowa and the future of the Olympics, so we’re very excited about that,” Branstad said during a telephone conference call with reporters.
In mid-February the International Olympic Committee recommended dropping the sport of wrestling, starting in the 2020 games. Later the same week Branstad launched a “Let’s Keep Wrestling” website to collect signatures on an on-line petition.
“Over 25,000 people joined in our effort,” Branstad said. “…We had 30-some governors that wrote to the International Olympic Committee in support of wrestling.”
The two congressmen who represent eastern Iowa have issued written statements celebrating the “victory” for Olympic wrestling. Congressman Bruce Braley of Waterloo said Iowans are “rightfully proud of our state’s long tradition of wrestling excellence” and he said the decision to keep wrestling in the Olympic program means “the Olympic dream will continue for the next generation of great Iowa wrestlers.” Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa City singled out former Iowa wrestling coach Dan Gable and former Iowa wrestler Terry Brands, the current coach of USA Wrestling, for “their tireless efforts to keep wrestling” in the Olympics. Loebsack said “the history of collegiate and Olympic wrestling runs through Iowa” and the sport “teaches our kids…the skills it takes to succeed in life.”