Office of the Governor of Iowa

Governor Branstad


Gov. Branstad brings together 33 other governors in bipartisan effort to keep wrestling in Olympics

March 5, 2013

Gov. Terry E. Branstad today released a letter, co-signed by a bipartisan group of 33 governors, calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to keep wrestling an Olympic sport. After asking Iowa’s congressional delegation to co-sign a letter to the Olympic committee, Branstad began focusing on bringing together governors in an effort to keep the great sport in the Olympics.

The letter, sent to International Olympic Committee Executive Board President Dr. Jacques Rogge, urges the committee to reconsider their recent decision to remove wrestling as an Olympic sport, effective in 2020.

“The Olympic Games are meant to provide a venue for people from all nations to overcome differences and forge lasting relationships and wrestling has contributed to these Olympic attributes,” the governors write.  “We believe that renewing or renovating the Olympics should respect key Olympic traditions. We would also encourage a transparent voting system for future votes on which sports should be included as part of the Olympic Games. As public servants, we hold transparency as a sacred principle and we would encourage the IOC to abide by that same principle.”

The following is the full text of the letter, including the bipartisan list of governors who joined Gov. Branstad in signing on to the letter:

March 5, 2013

Dr. Jacques Rogge

President, International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board

Château de Vidy

Case Postale 356 1001

Lausanne Switzerland

Dear President Rogge:

As governors of states with rich wrestling traditions, we write to express our concerns regarding the recent decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to remove wrestling as an Olympic sport in the 2020 Olympic Games. We strongly urge the IOC to reconsider its position and vote to extend wrestling’s long legacy within the Olympic Games.

Wrestling was a key sport in ancient civilization and its inclusion in the Olympics has continued to enrich the ongoing Olympic tradition. Early Olympic organizers recognized wrestling’s unique and global importance by including the sport in the 1896 Olympic Games held in Athens. Wrestling has been a key part of the Olympic movement ever since.

The same spirit of competition that drove ancient wrestlers has transcended generations, and our states are the beneficiaries of this spirit. Wrestling accelerates character building. At its core, wrestling is an instinct and embodies the human qualities of hard work, discipline, and perseverance. Dan Gable, an Olympic gold medalist and former US Olympic wrestling coach, succinctly summarized wrestling’s character building characteristics when he stated, “Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.”

Wrestling’s positive impact goes beyond our states and the United States of America. Forms of wrestling have been important parts of cultures worldwide, including China, Ukraine, Japan, Russia, Turkey, and many other countries. Soviet and Russian wrestlers have won 77 gold medals at past Olympic Games. Moreover, wrestling federations exist in approximately 180 countries and the recent London Olympic Games had wrestlers from over 70 countries.

The Olympic Games are meant to provide a venue for people from all nations to overcome differences and forge lasting relationships and wrestling has contributed to these Olympic attributes. We believe that renewing or renovating the Olympics should respect key Olympic traditions. We would also encourage a transparent voting system for future votes on which sports should be included as part of the Olympic Games. As public servants, we hold transparency as a sacred principle and we would encourage the IOC to abide by that same principle.

We encourage your prompt reconsideration of your decision regarding wrestling. We hope that wrestling will continue to be an important part of the Olympic tradition.

Sincerely,

Terry E. Branstad

Governor of Iowa

Robert Bentley

Governor of Alabama

Sean Parnell

Governor of Alaska

Mike Beebe

Governor of Arkansas

John Hickenlooper

Governor of Colorado

Dannel P. Malloy

Governor of Connecticut

Jack Markell

Governor of Delaware

Nathan Deal

Governor of Georgia

Pat Quinn

Governor of Illinois

Sam Brownback

Governor of Kansas

Bobby Jindal

Governor of Louisiana

Paul LePage

Governor of Maine

Martin O’Malley

Governor of Maryland

Rick Snyder

Governor of Michigan

Mark Dayton

Governor of Minnesota

Steve Bullock

Governor of Montana

Dave Heineman

Governor of Nebraska

Brian Sandoval

Governor of Nevada

Maggie Hassan

Governor of New Hampshire

Chris Christie

Governor of New Jersey

Pat McCrory

Governor of North Carolina

John Kasich

Governor of Ohio

Mary Fallin

Governor of Oklahoma

John Kitzhaber, M.D.

Governor of Oregon

Tom Corbett

Governor of Pennsylvania

Alejandro García Padilla

Governor of Puerto Rico

Lincoln Chafee

Governor of Rhode Island

Dennis Daugaard

Governor of South Dakota

Bill Haslam

Governor of Tennessee

Gary Herbert

Governor of Utah

Peter Shumlin

Governor of Vermont

Scott Walker

Governor of Wisconsin

Matt Mead

Governor of Wyoming


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