2020 Olympic Wrestling – I’m Far From Being Alone!

By | May 14, 2013

Here is a letter that Chuck Harman just had delivered to each member of the IOC Board and allowed me to see in advance of it being sent. Chuck is right on the money, it’s a must read!

I’m getting a lot of responses like this from my blog and I’m so encouraged by what I’m hearing and reading. The wrestling community is getting the message, they appreciate hearing the whole story and grateful there are a few of us out there who are taking the lead.

Read Chuck’s letter, he ran it by some very influential people before sending it. These were high level decision makers who are very involved in the effort to keep wrestling in the Olympics. To the man they endorsed it thought for thought and word for word.




Dear IOC,

It’s with mixed emotions this letter is written, as with writing this letter many will criticize the intent and purpose. However, it is for the best possible long term outcome for the sport of wrestling this letter is written, regardless of the initial reaction or thoughts of some people.

Personally, I’ve been associated with wrestling for nearly forty years as an athlete, coach, spectator and President of the Professional Freestyle Wrestling Association. 

In the time since the IOC’s executive board recommendation to exclude wrestling as one of the 25 core Olympic Sports in 2020, I’ve personally interviewed nearly every USA Wrestling board member, CPOW committee members and the 2 FILA representatives from the USA.  Along with the interviews, an intense review of the IOC, USA Wrestling and FILA was conducted.  Also a comparative analysis of the 25 core sports governing bodies and the USA governing body of those sports was conducted.  In the over 180 hours of intense research the results have been reviewed by other C-level corporate executives with no association with wrestling for an unbiased, third party reaction to these findings.

As a result, the IOC executive board should be applauded for the vote to exclude wrestling as a core sport.

In addition, taking the high road with the reason why wrestling has been excluded should also be commended. In fact, it was the obligation and responsibility (fiduciary responsibility) of the IOC executive board to do so. Anyone who does any research (just a few hours) on the core values of the Olympics and the unfortunate direction the leadership of wrestling has traveled over the last several years would clearly understand that the IOC executive board  – clearly had no choice but to exclude wrestling from the Olympics.

Wrestling as a sport, along with its history, certainly has its place as an Olympic sport. You will hear hundreds of reasons why over the next few months. The attitude associated with those reasons why, that of entitlement and arrogance most certainly does not.

Wrestling will soon be asking for a second chance, a chance to compete for a provisional spot at the meeting to be held in Argentina. Although, wrestling should be allowed to compete for a provisional spot on the Olympic venue simply based on its long Olympic history, the leadership of wrestling must change. As without a wholesale change in leadership the sport will have regressed and those who lost the Olympics will rejoice in their recapture of something they had caused to happen.

The only change in leadership which has happened since the February vote by the IOC executive board was the removal of one person from position – who is still part of the leadership team!  The attitude of entitlement and arrogance must be removed before any effective change can occur in the administration of the great sport of wrestling. Frankly, that attitude permeates throughout the leadership along with a high level complacency.     

It is for these systemic reasons this letter has been written and the following plead for wrestling is being submitted:

Please allow wrestling to compete in Argentina for a provisional Olympic spot with the following condition – over the next few months wrestling must incur significant and meaningful change. Change of leadership at the International governing body and the National levels which would only leave 20% or less of the existing leadership in position by September 2013. It is only with a change in leadership of this magnitude of effective change will happen. It was a sad day in February for wrestling when it was announced wrestling would not be considered an Olympic core sport. However, requiring wrestling to make this significant and meaningful change – to be seriously considered as a provisional Olympic sport will make the sport of wrestling stronger and much more relevant.  Anything less than what is being asked would only guarantee the status quo.

Some will question whether the IOC has the authority or the responsibility to require such a change.

The IOC not only has the right to demand such a change but also a responsibility to ensure change be instituted should Wrestling become a provisional Olympic sport for the 2020 games.

There is nothing wrong with the SPORT of wrestling – it’s the leadership who has taken this wonderful sport down a very wrong path.

With hopeful anticipation – THE “RIGHT” ACTION IS TAKEN, 

Charles L Harman Jr.

Former President Professional Freestyle Wrestling Association

Olympic Wrestling Supporter

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